News and Press Releases

News Release
U.S. Department of Justice
Peter F. Neronha
United States Attorney
District of Rhode Island

August 19, 2010

Indianapolis Woman Pleads Guilty in RI Federal Court to Violation of the Mann Act

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Jan M. Wales of Indianapolis, Indiana, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Providence on Thursday to conspiracy and transporting an individual across state lines to engage in prostitution, in violation of the Mann Act. Wales and a co-defendant, Nathan G. Pope of Indianapolis, were indicted by a federal grand jury in January.

United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha; Bruce M. Foucart, Special Agent in Charge for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch; and Warwick Police Chief Colonel Stephen McCartney jointly announced the guilty plea, which was entered before U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith.

At Wales’ change of plea hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard W. Rose told the court, had the matter gone to trial, the government would have presented evidence that Jan Wales and Nathan Pope engaged in a conspiracy to bring two women from Indiana to the East Coast to engage in prostitution, in violation of the Mann Act. 

Evidence would have shown that in November 2009, Wales and Pope recruited an 18 year old woman identified as S.M. to work for them as a prostitute in Indiana.  S.M. was recruited by Wales on the Internet. Wales and Pope had several women working for them in Indiana.  Wales would recruit customers on the Internet and would often times accompany the women when they met with customers. 

Around Christmas time 2009, S.M. and another woman who was working as a prostitute for the defendants agreed to travel from Indiana to the East Coast to solicit new customers in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. On December 27, Pope and the two women left Indianapolis heading for Rhode Island.

Three hours into their drive, while in a restaurant in Ohio, Pope became angry with S.M. and at one point when she tried to leave Pope warned her, “...you can’t run away from me, I know where you live,” and, “You don’t know me, you don’t know what I’m capable of.”  As S.M. tried to get out of the car Pope said, “Don’t think you can get away from me.” After that the three continued to drive east.

In the early morning hours of December 28, the trio checked into a single hotel room in Warwick. Later that day Wales, who remained in Indianapolis and scheduled clients for S.M. and the other woman via the Internet, sent a text message to S.M. with information about an appointment with a male client. Following the appointment, which included sexual activity, Pope returned to the room where S.M. gave him $250.00 the client had paid, and he gave her back $50.00.

The next morning, Pope and S.M. got into an argument. Pope punched the S.M. twice in the face, took her cell phone, $1,000 from her purse, and left her in the room.  Pope and the second women then drove to Hartford, CT where they were arrested in a hotel in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, on a complaint from the District of Rhode Island.

Following an investigation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Warwick Police, the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office, and other agencies, agents arrested Pope on a federal complaint. Wales was subsequently secretly indicted by a federal grand jury in Providence and arrested.

Wales is scheduled to be sentenced December, 17, 2010, and faces maximum penalties of
10 years in federal prison for transporting a person interstate for prostitution in violation of the Mann Act and a $250,000 fine; and five years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine for conspiracy.

Pope is detained awaiting trial.

 

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Contact: 401-709-5357
USARI.Media@usdoj.gov

 

 

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