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Press Release

Wyoming man charged in commercial sex investigation in Billings admits prostitution crime

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Montana

BILLINGS — A Wyoming man accused of soliciting sex in a Billings motel room during an investigation into commercial sex activity in 2021 today admitted to a prostitution crime, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.

Mark Jay Albrecht, 65, of Gillette, Wyoming, pleaded guilty to a superseding information charging him with prostitution near military and navy establishments, a misdemeanor. Albrecht faces a maximum of one year in prison, a $100,000 fine and one year of supervised release.

U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters presided. The court will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. Sentencing was set for May 4. The court continued Albrecht’s release pending further proceedings. If accepted by the court at sentencing, a plea agreement reached by the parties recommends that Albrecht serve a sentence of no less than six months imprisonment.

The government alleged in court documents that Albrecht knowingly solicited a person for prostitution. On April 21, 2021, law enforcement responded to a call concerning possible commercial sex activity at the Quality Inn in Billings. Officers knocked on the door of the suspect room and announced themselves. Co-defendant Ashley Stella, another female identified as Jane Doe 1, a minor, and Albrecht emerged. Albrecht was witnessed buttoning up his shirt as he exited the room. Law enforcement interviewed Stella and Jane Doe 1 multiple times. Stella acknowledged that Albrecht was in the room for the purpose of commercial sex. Electronic communications recovered by law enforcement reflected discussions between Albrecht and Stella from earlier that day involving a possible commercial sex meeting. The Quality Inn is located approximately two miles from a military recruitment center, and, at the time, prostitution was illegal in the State of Montana.

Stella, of Reno, Nevada, was sentenced to eight years in prison for conviction of transportation of a minor to engage in prostitution. A third co-defendant charged in the case, Cecil Jerome Hatchett, of Las Vegas, Nevada, is scheduled for a change of plea hearing on Jan. 6.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Zeno B. Baucus and Bryan T. Dake are prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the FBI, Montana Division of Criminal Investigation, Billings Police Department, the Reno, Nevada, Police Department and IRS.

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Clair Johnson Howard

Public Affairs Officer

406-247-4623

Updated January 4, 2023

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Release Number: 23-03