Two Defendants Plead Guilty to Operating Underage Prostitution Business
JONATHAN KELLY, also known as “NY,” pleaded guilty today to operating an underage prostitution business based in Queens, New York. KELLY’S business partner and co-conspirator, JOHN RAMIREZ, also known as “Pop,” pled guilty on September 9, 2008, to a related charge of violating the Mann Act, which prohibits the interstate transport of individuals for prostitution. Today’s guilty plea proceeding was held before United States District Judge Sterling Johnson, Jr. at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, New York
The guilty plea was announced by Benton J. Campbell, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, David A. Cardona, Special Agent-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Criminal Division, and Raymond W. Kelly, Commissioner of the New York City Police Department.
The defendants recruited underage women, some as young as 14-years old, in Brooklyn and Queens to work as prostitutes on the streets of New York City as well as in strip clubs in Connecticut. The defendants advertised the victims’ prostitution services on websites, such as Craigslist, and took all of the money the victims earned.
“The defendants exploited young and vulnerable women and girls in our community in order to line their own pockets at the expense of their victims,” stated United States Attorney Campbell. “Working with our partners in local law enforcement, we will continue to aggressively bring to justice those who seek to prey upon our youth and lure them into the sex trade.” Mr. Campbell thanked the New York City Police Department for its assistance.
FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Cardona stated, “The FBI will continue to focus the necessary resources to rapidly address those who exploit the innocence of minors for illicit and immoral purposes.”
KELLY faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, and RAMIREZ faces a sentence of up to 10 years of imprisonment.
The case was is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Berit Berger.
The Department of Justice believes that it is important to keep victims/witnesses of federal crime informed of court proceedings and what services may be available to assist you.