In Anaheim, California, a federal grand jury has indicted a couple for selling sexual services of two teenage girls, ages 14 and 17. Federal agents said the activity occurred in Anaheim and other cities in what they describe as a multi-state pimping operation that could include other victims.
The indictment was in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles against Eric Wells, 24, and Tonisha Moore, 22, who is a prostitute, according to the FBI.
They are facing a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in a federal prison and a statutory maximum term of life in prison if convicted of sex trafficking of children, conspiracy and transportation of minors. They remain in federal custody.
Anaheim police discovered what they believed to be a commercial sex operation in April, 2012, when they observed the 14-year-old leaving a CVS drugstore on Beach Boulevard by herself in an area that is known for prostitution.
The girl informed police that one of the defendants met her and her 17-year-old companion when the two girls were working in Las Vegas as prostitutes. They were told they could make $500 per day, and convinced them to go to Phoenix to work as prostitutes. After working in Arizona, they were brought to Anaheim to sell their sexual services.
The teen girls were advertised through websites that said they were 19-year-old women. An ad headlined "2 New Exotic Ebony Vixens" were placed for the cities of Anaheim, Costa Mesa and Irvine under the Orange County escorts section of one of the websites.
The federal indictment said the night before Anaheim police spotted the 14-year-old, the defendants collected $300 from the girls after they met a client at a hotel for sex acts.
Both defendants were arrested on April 24 at a hotel in Sacramento where police believe they had taken the older girl to work as a prostitute. Police seized their cellphones and laptop computers for evidence.
Pimping is a sex crime that is considered a felony in the state of California. It consist of living from the income from the earnings of prostitution or receiving money for soliciting prostitution, for a person who the defendant knows to be a prostitute.
A pimping conviction can result in three to six years in state prison. If the prostitute involved is less than 16 years old, the defendant may receive a state prison term of three to eight years and a $5,000 fine.
In many cases, the prosecution will have a difficult tasks to prove a crime of pimping. An attorney’s job is to make it as difficult as possible on the prosecution to prove their case against their client. Therefore, if you are facing a pimping or pandering criminal charges, you will need to consult with a lawyer who has experience dealing with these type of cases.
The law office of Cron, Israels & Stark have decades of experience handling sex crime charges. We have successfully defended cases of prostitution & solicitation,
lewd conduct, child molestation, among others.
The earlier you retain the services of a criminal defense lawyer, the better your chances are of avoiding the harsh penalties associated with a sex crime conviction. Call our office anytime, 24/7, at 888-895-3607 for a free consultation.