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Attorney Joel DeFabio Comments on Clients' Escort Charges

Miguel Arcangel Hernandez stands accused of masterminding a lucrative and violent escort service out of an Extended Stay America in a popular area of Fort Lauderdale. According to authorities, Hernandez and his brother, Eduardo Jose Hernandez, operated the business out of the hotel for years, generating a significant stream of cash and even involving women from overseas.

Attorney Joel DeFabio is representing Miguel Hernandez and entered a not guilty plea on his behalf. He spoke to the Sun Sentinel about his client's charges: "I find it problematic that the government has decided to prosecute Mr. Hernandez for his alleged, limited involvement in this publicly accepted industry," he said. "Escort services are a fact of life in South Florida, as well as in many other places in the U.S. and the world … There is absolutely no public outcry over this type of business as it helps to support the tourism industry, which is essential to South Florida."

Miguel Hernandez stands accused 18 charges, including importing aliens for prostitution, money laundering, and multiple counts of interstate travel or transportation in aid of racketeering. Because he faces federal prosecution, he and his brother are being held without bond.

Separate Trials

U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke decided this week that Miguel Hernandez and his brother will be tried separately. Eduardo Jose Hernandez's defense counsel had argued that a jury should not be exposed to the allegations against Miguel Hernandez to avoid a "spillover effect." Judge Cooke agreed that separate trials would avoid either of the brothers to be found inadvertently guilty simply by association.

Federal agents claim they been collecting evidence against the Hernandez brothers since August 2012 when one foreign national was intercepted at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. "Further investigation has revealed that since at least as early as 2010, Miguel Hernandez has been operating a highly profitable prostitution business from the hotel and other locations in Miami-Dade and Broward counties," prosecutor Olivia Choe wrote in documents submitted to the court. Miguel Hernandez's federal trial is scheduled for May.

If you or a loved one has been charged with a serious criminal act, then we invite you to contact us at Beckham Solis, Attorneys at Law. Our Miami criminal defense lawyers have more than 50 years of combined legal experience. Even in the face of the most serious of charges, our firm can ensure that every possible avenue towards a reduction or acquittal is aggressively pursued on your behalf.

Do not hesitate to start mounting a defense you can trust. Contact us today.