DETROIT - A Michigan man has been sentenced to 14 years in federal prison for trafficking in Eastern European women forced to work as strippers.
Aleksandr Maksimenko pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to commit money laundering, involuntary servitude and immigration offenses.
In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts ordered Maksimenko to repay $1.5 million to 12 women, the Detroit News reported.
"Mr. Maksimenko, in effect, was pimping these women," Roberts said. "They may not have been involved in prostitution, but he was taking all of their hard-earned money and using it to support himself. He was, and is, nothing more than a commonplace pimp."
"They took my money and my spirit," one victim, a 21-year-old from the Ukraine, said of Maksimenko and co-defendant Michail Aronov.
Defense attorney Michael Rataj called Maksimenko "basically a stooge." He argued that Maksimenko's father, who lives in Ukraine, organized the operation.
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