American charged with paid sex with girl in online prostitution ring case

An American former senior manager of a multi-national corporation was formally charged on Wednesday with paid sex with a 16-year-old girl. Payton Scott Velo, 44, is accused of paying $280 for the sexual services of the minor at his former residence at One Tree Hill on Feb 19 this year.

So far, 12 men have been charged with having paid sex with the minor who was recruited by a pimp who operated an online vice ring. Three men have pleaded guilty and are now serving 12 weeks' imprisonment each. Deputy Public Prosecutor Stella Tan Wei Ling applied for a gag order to protect the victim's identity.

Velo was to have been charged last month but he attempted suicide the night before his court date and was warded at the Institute of Mental Health. Velo's lawyer A. Sangeetha said her client was not intending to plead guilty. His police bail of $15,000 has been extended. His passport has been impounded and he was ordered not to approach the victim.

The case has been fixed for a discovery conference on Aug 26. If convicted, he faces a jail term of up to seven years and/or a fine.