According to court documents, BERRY met Randy Jonal Schenck (Schenck) in about early 2013 and soon developed a romantic relationship. Thereafter, BERRY began working for an escort agency under Schenck's supervision, often engaging in prostitution activities. BERRY and Schenck travelled nationally engaging in their prostitution scheme, the proceeds of which Schenck required BERRY to give to him. Schenck and BERRY often advertised on location-specific bulletin boards, social applications, and classified advertisement websites. BERRY often used the alias “Desiree Knowles.” When BERRY did not perform her role efficiently or effectively or otherwise failed to comply with Schenck’s direction, Schenck would threaten, slap, strike, beat, and choke BERRY.
Thereafter, BERRY and Schenck’s enterprise evolved into one that involved meeting individuals online who were interested in companionship, arranging face-to-face interactions with them, and incapacitating them by giving them illegal drugs and prescription medication with neuro-suppressive side effects, including anti-psychotic medications, which the victims unknowingly ingested. BERRY and Schenck would then steal the victims’ valuables.
Between at least November 2015 and September 2017, Schenck and BERRY implemented the scheme on not fewer than fifty (50) occasions throughout the United States, including in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, and Georgia. Court documents detail incidents involving nine of the victims. BERRY and Schenck were arrested at a hotel in Sandy Springs, Georgia, on September 13, 2017. When law enforcement authorities found BERRY at the hotel, she was bleeding from her nose, had a swollen lip and puncture consistent with her teeth biting through her lip, and black electrical tape around one of her arms.
Among the victims was S.A., a resident of Metairie, Louisiana, whom BERRY met through a social media application on about February 24, 2017. After exchanging text messages and phone calls, BERRY and S.A. agreed to meet at S.A.’s apartment. Thereafter, Schenck dropped BERRY off at S.A.’s apartment. While at S.A.’s apartment, BERRY placed drugs designed to incapacitate S.A., including multiple anti-psychotic medications, into S.A.’s beverages without his knowledge or authorization. After S.A. lost consciousness, BERRY told R.S. that S.A. was incapacitated. Thereafter, S.A.’s valuables, including his wallet, two cellular phones, his keys, and his 2012 Toyota Tacoma truck were stolen by R.S. and one or more co-conspirators. On February 25, 2017, Schenck and BERRY used S.A.’s debit card to make multiple purchases in the New Orleans area. Additionally, on February 25, 2017, detectives with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office responded to a wellness check at S.A.’s residence and found him to be deceased.
Schenck was charged separately by a federal grand jury sitting in the Eastern District of Louisiana in February 2020 in a twelve-count indictment. On May 10, 2022, Schenck pleaded guilty to two of the counts, charging him with interstate transportation and use of an interstate facility with intent to carry on unlawful activity, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1952(a)(3) (Count 1), and wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1343 and 2 (Count 7). Schenck was sentenced to 300 months (25 years) in prison on October 6, 2022.
U.S. Attorney Evans praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in investigating this matter and the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s, EDLA Victim Witness staff members Brandi Calagna, Melissa Meunier and Brad Bordelon. U.S. Attorney Evans also expressed appreciation for the support provided by numerous law enforcement agencies and private entities involved in the investigation, including the Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, the Tucson (Arizona) Police Department, the Salt River (Arizona) Police Department, the Cobb County (Georgia) Police Department, the Sandy Springs (Georgia) Police Department, the Sacramento (California) Police Department, and Talking Stick Casino (Arizona). Assistant United States Attorneys Jordan Ginsberg, supervisor of the Public Corruption Unit, and Melissa Bücher were in charge of the prosecution.