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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Missouri

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, May 15, 2017

Houston Man Sentenced on Prostitution Charges

St. Louis, MO – Thomas Szczerba was sentenced to 140 months for his involvement in the transportation of a woman from Texas, through Illinois and Wisconsin and ultimately to the Eastern District of Missouri to engage in prostitution. The victim was posted on www.Backpage.com and other prostitution related websites, including a prostitution website maintained by Szczerba and his co-defendant Keisha Edwards.

According to testimony at trial, in Houston, Texas, Szczerba and Edwards recruited the victim to live with them and participate in the commercial sex trade. While the victim resided with Szczerba and Edwards, Szczerba facilitated the sex dates for the victim, collected proceeds generated from the prostitution, he made decisions as to when and where the victim would go for the commercial sex dates, and Szczerba marked the victim as his prostitute by giving her an alias in line with the moniker that he gave himself and his other prostitute. While in Missouri, Szczerba also forced the victim to participate in commercial sex acts, which ultimately caused the victim to seek medical attention at a local hospital.

Szczerba, 33, of Houston, Texas was convicted in February 2017 of one count each of interstate transportation of an individual to engage in prostitution, conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, use of facilities of interstate commerce with intent to aide a prostitution enterprise and use of facilities in interstate commerce with intent to distribute proceeds from prostitution. The five-day trial was held before United States District Court Judge Henry E. Autrey.

Szczerba’s co-defendant, Keisha Edwards pleaded guilty in February 2017 to one count each of use of facilities of interstate commerce with intent to aide a prostitution enterprise and use of facilities in interstate commerce with intent to distribute proceeds from prostitution. Edwards will be sentenced May 24, 2017.

The case was investigated by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. ###

Topic(s): 
Human Trafficking
Contact: 
Terri L. Dougherty Public Affairs Specialist U.S. Attorney’s Office 111 S. 10th Street, 20th Floor St. Louis, MO 63102 (314) 539-6889 (desk) (314) 296-1388 (cell)
Updated May 15, 2017