Nightclub Owner Charged with Trafficking Women Sentenced to 6 Years, Restitution

Yohanna Gonzalez-McFarlane, 40, was sentenced to 78 months of jail time and $942,007 in restitution payments for trafficking women.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Gonzalez-McFarlane – a nightclub owner on St. Thomas – was found guilty of three counts of bringing illegal aliens into the United States for financial gain and one count of transportation of prostitution. She was sentenced by Chief District Court Judge Robert A. Molloy, with her prison time followed by 10 years of supervised release.

Along with the restitution, Gonzalez-McFarlane was ordered to pay $400 in special assessments and $20,000 in additional fees outlined in the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015.

Molloy described Gonzalez-McFarlane’s acts – which was described in a Friday news release as “recruiting and harboring vulnerable women to work as prostitutes for her financial gain” – as “heinous.” McFarlane-Gonzalez profited from the prostitution of 12 different women, one of whom was 17-years-old at the time she was recruited.

“Human smuggling and the intentional manipulation of vulnerable women against their will cannot be tolerated,” U.S. Attorney Gretchen Shappert said in the release. “We are grateful for the hard work of our law enforcement partners who exposed this crime and brought the defendant to justice.”

The case was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security Investigations along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance and support from the V.I. Police Department, U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Postal Investigative Service, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Customs and Border Protection.

Assistant United States Attorney Meredith Edwards prosecuted the case.