WASHINGTON – A New York City man who led an interstate prostitution enterprise including recruiting and prostituting minor girls in several U.S. cites pleaded guilty today in federal court, Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie of the District of New Jersey announced today.
Matthew D. Thompkins, a.k.a. “Knowledge,” 38, of the Bronx, N.Y. entered his guilty plea today before U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson in U.S. District Court in Trenton, N.J., to conspiracy to transport minors to engage in prostitution and conspiracy to engage in money laundering. In pleading guilty, Thompkins agreed to forfeit $748,243 in funds, three New York properties, one New Jersey property and eight vehicles all of which were derived from or used in the prostitution enterprise.
According to the plea agreement and hearing testimony, Thompkins organized and managed a prostitution ring operating from at least as early as 1999 and continuing until December of 2005 in various U.S. cities, including Atlantic City, N.J.; New York City (including Manhattan and Hunts Point in the Bronx); Las Vegas; Boston; and Miami. Other members of the conspiracy, including Melissa Ramlakhan, Anna Argyroudis, Emily Collins-Koslosky, Jacqueline Collins-Koslosky, and Kemyra Jemerson, would recruit and transport young girls to and from various cities in order to have them work as prostitutes for him. At Thompkins’ direction, members of the conspiracy would also hide the proceeds of the illegal prostitution enterprise by converting the proceeds into U.S. postal and Western Union money orders in amounts under the legal reporting requirement of $3,000. To date, over $800,000 in U.S. postal and Western Union money orders have been identified as having been purchased and used by members of the conspiracy.
To date, Ramlakhan, Argyroudis, Emily and Jacqueline Collins-Koslosky, and Jemerson as well as another pimp involved in the conspiracy, Demetrius Lemus, have all pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.
Thompkins faces a mandatory minimum of five years in prison to a maximum of 30 years and a $250,000 fine for conspiring to transport minors. He also faces up to 20 years in prison and the greater of a $250,000 fine or twice the gross amount of any pecuniary gain or twice the amount of any pecuniary loss suffered by the victims for conspiring to commit money laundering. Sentencing is currently scheduled for March 2, 2007.
The case is part of the “Innocence Lost” initiative, a cooperative effort to prevent and prosecute cases involving child prostitution between the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. To date, the Innocence Lost Initiative has resulted in 252 open investigations, 614 arrests, 96 complaints, 142 informations or indictments, and 106 convictions in both the federal and state systems.
The case was investigated by Special Agent Daniel Garrabrant of the FBI and Special Agent Tara Nevrincean of the U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General and is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Sherri A. Stephan of the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Richardson of the District of New Jersey in Camden.