[Post updated 2021] Most of the articles we post are designed to help people who themselves the victim of fraud. Sometimes, innocent people find themselves victims of human trafficking. This a grim tale of a cop turned trafficker, former IRS Special Agent Kemp Shiffer. Afterwards we discuss how victims of trafficking can get help.
Several years ago Shiffer was the lead investigator in the successful prosecution of Joseph Conforte, owner of the infamous Mustang Ranch brothel in Reno, Nevada. Apparently not satisfied with his government salary, however, Shiffer designed to go into the prostitution business himself.
Kemp Shiffer now joins the ranks of former cops who are now convicted felons. He was convicted last month of transporting a woman across state lines to engage in prostitution. As a result of his jaunt across state lines he must also forfeit his Mercedes Benz.
IRS Special Agents are law enforcement officers. Like all IRS employees, they take an oath to uphold and enforce the laws. Special Agents assigned to the IRS Criminal Investigation Division, like Shiffer once was, carry weapons and have the authority to make arrests. It is sad to see any government employee cross the line into criminal behavior but cops who cross the line can expect a rough time in prison and from judges.
According to published reports, Shiffer headed up the investigation that brought down Conforte and the closure of one of Nevada’s less than reputable brothels. Apparently Conforte liked the lifestyle or the glamour (or the women) because shortly thereafter he and his lawyer allegedly invested in a different brothel, Petticoat Junction.
County officials in Nevada would not give him a permit for the prostitution business. Undeterred, Shiffer then went to California and recruited a prostitute to come work for him in Nevada. That’s when he was caught.
Shiffer faces 10 years when sentenced early next year.
Update: Unlike traditional media, we like to follow up on stories and often will post “Where Are They Now” updates.
In 2012, Shiffer was sentenced to two years in federal prison and ordered to perform 250 hours of community service. He was also ordered to serve 10 years of probation after being released from prison.
Public records show he pled guilty to a single count of transporting an individual in interstate commerce for purposes of prostitution. We don’t know anything about the woman who was brought from California to Nevada in order to engage in prostitution but the FBI says Shiffer engaged in “coercive conduct.”
There appears to be a happy ending to this story. In 2019 Shiffer petitioned the court and asked to be released five years early from probation. In his application he detailed an extraordinary amount of community service well beyond what was ordered by the court. Rarely do prosecutors ever agree to early release or termination petitions but in this case they did.
Shiffer’s was granted early termination of his probation (called conditional release in federal court) in 2019. His LinkedIn profile shows he is doing tax preparation work in Nevada. His bio claims,
“[He has an] active community presence and volunteers in Reno with the Vitality House – A Center for Veterans and The Ridgehouse, a drug rehabilitation center. Kemp Shiffer assists veterans and drug rehab clients with issues related to taxes, child support and delinquent student loans.”
We wish Shiffer well and hope his past remains forever behind him. Some may disagree with the length of his sentence but folks deserve a fresh start. While our focus is on the victims of trafficking, we do hope that the people behind these schemes learn their lessons and become productive members of society.
Mahany Law – Human Trafficking Lawyers
Shiffer was a federal law enforcement officer. IRS special agents are cops, not ordinary IRS agents or revenue officers. While we often see cases involving police misconduct, we rarely see cops engaged in human trafficking or the sex trade.
Individuals and businesses such as hotels that promote or facilitate human trafficking can be held liable for monetary damages. Pursuing these evildoers isn’t our primary focus but several of us at Mahany Law are former prosecutors or special agents. We understand that most lawyers won’t even consider taking cases on behalf of human trafficking victims.
Victims of these schemes have rights and are entitled to monetary damages. The criminal justice system typically deals with the offender but we focus on the third parties such as hotels that facilitate these schemes.
If you are a victim of human trafficking and need help, contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or call local law enforcement by dialing 911. If you are interested in seeking monetary damages for those who may have facilitated trafficking, contact us online or by email . All inquiries are kept strictly confidential and protected by the attorney – client privilege.
Human trafficking cases considered anywhere in the United States.