Elderly San Diego realtor pleads guilty to purchasing underage sex

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A 70-year-old real-estate agent pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court in San Diego to prostitution-related crimes, admitting that he paid for sex with a 13-year-old girl on several occasions.

Michael E. Lustig of San Diego, who was indicted by a federal grand jury in October, entered his plea before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mitchell Dembin.

According to court records, sheriff’s investigators arrested Lustig in June 2012 during an operation targeting prostitution in Encinitas. After taking Lustig into custody, deputies seized two cellphones from him, which led to information that he had been in contact with two girls, ages 13 and 11.

Interviews with the minors revealed that Lustig had contacted them separately to engage in prostitution, prosecutors alleged.

Surveillance video from a motel in El Cajon showed Lustig entering a rented room with one of the girls and emerging about 45 minutes later.

Lustig contacted the minors repeatedly over a span of months, prosecutors said. Interviews with the girls confirmed that Lustig, known to them as “George,” had paid them for sex and that at least one of them had identified herself to him as a minor, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Diego.

In his plea agreement, Lustig admitted that he used a cellphone to contact the 13-year-old repeatedly between October 2011 and June 2012, seeking to pay her for sex. Lustig admitted that he later did engage in prostitution with the teen.

According to the plea agreement, Lustig admitted that on Oct. 15, 2011, he wrote the girl, asking, “Hey, is the bookstore open? I’m in desperate need of books rite now.” Lustig admitted in court that he was using a code word for sex.

About a month later, Lustig wrote the same minor, “U free sometime in the next 2 hours?” and “Any chance for library in 35 min, 7:15?” Lustig again admitted that he used code to recruit her for prostitution services. On June 8, 2012, according to prosecutors, Lustig simply wrote her, “Bookstore?”

Lustig will face a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and three years’ supervised release at his sentencing, scheduled for Nov. 3.

Categories: KUSI