Man pleads guilty to operating human trafficking ring in Boston-area

A Dorchester man has pleaded guilty to operating a human trafficking ring in the Boston area.

Michael Leoney, 53, pleaded guilty on Monday to charges of trafficking of persons for sexual servitude, conspiracy to traffic persons for sexual servitude and deriving support from prostitution, according to the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office.

Leoney is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 29. 

“This defendant exploited women by recruiting them, transporting them and coercing them to engage in commercial sex for his own personal profit,” Attorney General Maura Healey said in a statement. 

Leoney advertised women on Web sites and managed the organizations money, according to the AG’s office. 

Leoney’s brother, Shaun, also allegedly was involved the operation.

Authorities say Michael Leoney trafficked Caucasian women but Shaun Leoney usually trafficked Hispanic women. 

The brothers allegedly threatened to hurt the women as a way to control them and profited from the prostitution, according to the AG’s office. 

Police arrested Michael Leoney in December 2012 after searching his home and cars registered to him.

Shaun Leoney has already pleaded guilty to his role in the operation and was sentenced to seven years in prison in November 2015. 

A grand jury indicted Leoney in March 2013 after the attorney general’s office began investigating him in 2012. 

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