Former Finance Manager at Trophy Nissan Pleads Guilty In Connection With Owning and Running Brothels in Dallas, Texas
DALLAS — Jeffrey Wittman, 52, and his company JBJ Services, LLC (“JBJ”), appeared in federal court yesterday morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Irma Carrillo Ramirez and pleaded guilty to charges related to the ownership and operation of at least two businesses that were fronts for illegal brothels in Dallas, announced U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.
Specifically, Wittman and JBJ pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the Travel Act. Wittman faces a maximum penalty of not more than 5 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. Wittman has agreed to forfeit the building that was used to run one of the brothels and has agreed to pay a money judgment of not less than $200,000. JBJ faces a maximum penalty of a fine not to exceed $500,000 and has agreed to pay a money judgment of not less than $200,000. Wittman has been in custody since the time of his arrest in March 2017. A sentencing hearing has been set for January 10, 2018.
Chongok Ellsworth, 62, is scheduled to plead guilty to the conspiracy. Wittman’s wife, Chin Young Song, 50, and Puna Kim, 54, are awaiting trial.
According to documents filed in the case, during the time period from at least January 2014 through February 2017, Wittman, along with others, owned and/or operated brothels in the North Texas area. Specifically, Wittman and his coconspirators managed, promoted, and facilitated brothels called “Sakura” and “The Palace.” Wittman, who until his arrest in this case was working as a finance manager at Trophy Nissan, created JBJ with Song, to facilitate the operation of these businesses. Wittman and JBJ entered into several contracts that facilitated the prostitution business enterprise and maintained a bank account from which the illegal businesses operated. Wittman and his codefendants used the Internet, ATM machines, and phones to facilitate the brothels’ operations. Several online advertisements for Sakura and The Palace were posted during the course of the conspiracy, many of which contained photos of scantily clad women and advertised phone numbers of each of the businesses. In addition, both The Palace and Sakura leased space for ATMs to operate inside both businesses to further facilitate the brothels.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, with the assistance of the Dallas Police Department, investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jamie L. Hoxie and Joseph A. Magliolo are in charge of the prosecution.
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