More than 10 people were charged by the state attorney general in a widespread prostitution operation that used an advertising company and money laundering to pimp out women.
Alleged ringleaders of various prostitution outfits, according to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. They advertised their services in various media publications by using New Jersey-based company Somad Enterprises.
The head of the company, Milagros Katz of New Jersey, along with a total of 20 people were hit with an enterprise corruption charge. Various other charges handed down included money laundering, falsifying business records, promoting prostitution and narcotics possession and sales, the AG said. Each of the defendants faces up to 8 1/3 to 25 years in prison if convicted, according to the AG.
“This investigation led to the arrests of multiple individuals who were part of a criminal enterprise that made millions of dollars by profiting off the exploitation of women,” Schneiderman said. “With law enforcement partners like Police Commissioner [Ray] Kelly and the investigators at the NYPD and our other law enforcement partners we will continue to root out criminal networks like this prostitution and narcotics ring. The message we are sending is clear: These crimes will not be tolerated in the state of New York.”
In the process of making multiple arrests Nov. 20, law enforcement officials rescued two trafficked women, according to the AG.
The prostitution rings were more like arms extending outward from Somad Enterprises, the AG said.
Somad received more than $3 million from these arms over a roughly 2 1/2-year period to take out ads in various tri-state publications. The illegal outfits appeared on Somad’s books as cleaning, antique or party planning companies in an attempt to pass off the money as coming from legitimate businesses, a process known as mone laundering, the AG said.
Tracing the money outward from Somad, the AG found that each arm, run by a ringleader, provided bookers who arranged meetings in either a john’s home or at a hotel, and drivers to transport the prostituted women, Schneiderman said. In some cases, the groups would also sell narcotics to the johns via their prostitutes.
By Joe Anuta to timesledger.com