Friday, February 15, 2013

Leader of Interstate Sex Trafficking Ring Pleads Guilty

Michelle Matney, 38, of Greensboro, N.C., pleaded guilty Friday, February 8, 2013, for her role as the leader of an interstate prostitution organization and to conspiracy to persuade others to travel to engage in prostitution. This case was investigated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and Henrico County Police Division.

John P. Torres, special agent in charge for HSI Washington, D.C.; U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride, Eastern District of Virginia; and Chief of Police Douglas A. Middleton, Henrico County Police Division, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson. Matney faces a maximum penalty of five years of incarceration when she is sentenced on May 10, 2013.

In a statement of facts filed with her plea agreement, Matney admitted to recruiting and supervising numerous prostitutes from 2010 through 2012. She acknowledged that she would recruit prostitutes to work for her, encourage them to travel to various states other than North Carolina, where she was based, to work as prostitutes, post prostitution advertisements online for them and set up prostitution appointments with clients.

In exchange, Matney received a portion of the earnings that the women made from prostitution. Matney came to the attention of law enforcement after the Henrico County Police Department arrested several women for prostitution who stated that they were working for Matney.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jamie L. Mickelson and Roderick C. Young are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

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