Two Minnesotans — 64-year-old John Zbracki, of Lakeville, and 44-year-old John Ng, of Cottage Grove — were among the 36 people sentenced. Zbracki was sentenced to one year and one day in prison plus three years of supervised release and owes $50,000 in restitution. Ng was sentenced to 14 months in prison and three years of supervised release and owes $75,000 in restitution.
Court documents state the victims were often from impoverished backgrounds and spoke little or no English. They were then forced to participate in the scheme through misleading promises of a better life and were forced into prostitution houses and isolated from the outside world. The victims weren’t even allowed to leave the houses unless accompanied by a member of the criminal organization.
The organization also dealt primarily in cash and engaged in money laundering, prosecutors said. Investigators have been able to recover $1.5 million in cash and $15 million in money judgments so far, but testimony at trial indicated more than $40 million was sent to Thailand by one money launderer alone.