Harvey L. Bryant, Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Virginia Beach, announced today that Malachi Eric Chang, 28 years old, who previously resided in Long Island, New York, was sentenced today by Circuit Court Judge A. Bonwill Shockley for Abduction with the Intent to Prostitute, Pandering, and Possession of False Identification. Judge Shockley sentenced Chang to Life plus 10 years in prison, all suspended but 35 years.
Mid-way through a trial in Circuit Court on December 5, 2012, Chang pled guilty to Abduction with the Intent to Prostitute and Pandering. On April 30, 2013, Chang pled guilty to Possession of False Identification. The Commonwealth’s evidence proved that in the early months of 2012, Malachi Chang met a woman and encouraged her to work for him as a prostitute. He promised her a generous portion of her earnings and offered to provide living arrangements for her. The woman, Chang, and his wife travelled throughout the North Eastern United States, where he prostituted her, before coming to Virginia Beach. Chang posted her profile on the internet and set up numerous “dates” per day for her. If he thought she was disobedient, he would make her work multiple “dates” back to back. Chang took the woman’s cell phone, money, identification card, and all other personal belongings. He kept her separated from anyone other than her clients and refused to let her leave. He did not give her any of the money she earned. Further, he often made the woman take illegal drugs, dye her hair, wear colored contacts, lose weight, and speak with foreign accents.
The woman began to fear Chang and made a desperate attempt to escape. At the first moment she was alone with access to a phone, she called the police and claimed she had a warrant on file and wanted to turn herself in. The police responded to the Dolphin Inn at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, where the woman was working. Chang was staying in a nearby room. The woman told the police she was being forced to prostitute and that Malachi Chang had all of her property and would not let her leave. The investigating officer saw fear on the woman’s face as Chang called her on a cell phone from his hotel room. Chang came to the woman’s hotel room and the police began to chat with him under the rouse that they were doing a drug investigation. Chang gave the police an identification card with his picture and a fake name. He eventually confessed to receiving money from the woman’s “dates” with clients and claimed to be “providing security” for her, but denied holding her against her will.
Chang has prior convictions from the state of New York for Rape, Prostitution- Receive Money to Procure Prostitute, and Concealed Weapon.
“My office is an active participant in the Tidewater Human Trafficking Working Group which includes a variety of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies,” Bryant said. “‘Human trafficking’ means different things to different interest groups. My office has, and will continue to, prosecute these crimes regardless of the names by which they are called. Today’s sentence is an indication of how seriously these crimes are viewed in Virginia Beach.”
The case was prosecuted by Associate Commonwealth’s Attorney Scott C. Alleman. Please contact Macie Pridgen if additional information is desired.