Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge George L. Russell III sentenced Franklin Roosevelt Coit, a/k/a “Frank,” and “Nitty,” age 35, of Baltimore, today to 140 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for sex trafficking of a minor, in connection with a prostitution business he ran with co-defendant Jamar Simmons. Judge Russell ordered that upon his release from prison, Coit must register as a sex offender in the place where he resides, where he is an employee, and where he is a student, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Commissioner Anthony W. Batts of the Baltimore Police Department; Chief James W. Johnson of the Baltimore County Police Department; and Baltimore City State’s Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein.
According to their plea agreements, Coit and Simmons operated a brothel in Baltimore City on Madison Avenue. Simmons was a Baltimore City firefighter at the time of the offense. They also rented hotel rooms and a residence in Maryland for prostitution. Coit and Simmons falsely advertised online for exotic dancing and an escort service to recruit females, including at least one minor female, from Maryland and other states. They arranged to transport the women from Delaware, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, South Dakota and Virginia to Maryland to engage in prostitution. Many of the women they recruited were in financial distress, had no place to live, or were otherwise vulnerable.
Coit and Simmons took sexually explicit pictures of the females they recruited, and posted the pictures on the escort section of an online advertising website along with phone numbers to call to schedule a “date,” or sex. Simmons set the pricing for the sex acts, and instructed the females on how to arrange “dates” over the phone and how to avoid detection by law enforcement. Coit and Simmons shared the cash proceeds of the prostitution business, and used a gun to protect the business and its cash proceeds.
Simmons pleaded guilty to the same charge. Judge Russell III sentenced Jamar Marvin Simmons, a/k/a “Mar,” age 31, of Baltimore, on December 13, 2013 to 15 years in prison.
The case was investigated by the FBI-led Maryland Child Exploitation Task Force (MCETF), created in 2010 to combat child prostitution, with members from10 state and federal law enforcement agencies. The Task Force coordinates with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Maryland State Police Child Recovery Unit to identify missing children being advertised online for prostitution.
MCETF partners with the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force, formed in 2007 to discover and rescue victims of human trafficking while identifying and prosecuting offenders. Members include federal, state and local law enforcement, as well as victim service providers and local community members. For more information about the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force, please visit www.justice.gov/usao/md/Human-Trafficking/index.html.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the FBI, Baltimore City and County Police Departments and Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in the investigation, and Baltimore City Assistant State's Attorney Aaliyah Muhammad who assisted in the prosecution. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Rachel M. Yasser, who prosecuted the case.