(Dallas) Marcus Choice Williams, 36, of Fort Worth, Texas, pleaded guilty yesterday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Irma C. Ramirez to various felony offenses related to a conspiracy to traffic young women for prostitution, the Department of Justice announced. Williams pleaded guilty to:
- one count of conspiracy to transport individuals for prostitution;
- six counts of transporting individuals for prostitution;
- one count of sex trafficking by force,
- fraud or coercion;
- two counts of attempted sex trafficking by force; and,
- one count of money laundering.
Williams operated an interstate prostitution enterprise headquartered in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. He began operating in Texas in 2003 and, in 2006, expanded his enterprise into a multi-state operation that included advertising on websites.
Williams recruited vulnerable women, specifically single mothers from troubled backgrounds, and, in some cases used a combination of deception, fraud, coercion, threats and physical violence to compel the women to engage in prostitution. Williams required each young woman to secure a daily quota of money, and if operating out of town, to wire the funds to him.
“The exploitation of vulnerable women through sex trafficking is the equivalent of modern-day slavery, and will not be tolerated in this nation,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department is committed to the aggressive prosecution of all human trafficking cases.”
“The idea that an individual can be held in captivity by another person and forced to work in the world of prostitution is shocking to most people, said U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas James T. Jacks. “As evidenced by this and other cases brought by the Department of Justice, these activities are all too prevalent. This office and the Department of Justice as a whole are working to change that fact. We call upon the public to report any and all suspicious activity which may lead to apprehending and prosecuting those persons engaged in this activity and giving freedom to their victims.”
Under the terms of the plea agreement, Williams faces a sentence of 30 years in prison, if the Court accepts the sentencing recommendation in the plea agreement. Williams, who has been in custody in the Northern District of Texas since October 2010, when his pretrial release was revoked, is scheduled to be sentenced on June 20, 2011, by U.S. District Judge David C. Godbey.
Co-defendant Kenya Thomas, 31, of Plano, Texas, the mother of two of Williams’ children, assisted Williams in managing the operation and supervising new recruits. Thomas pleaded guilty to her role in the conspiracy in December 2009.
The case remains pending against the other co-defendant in the case, Preston Petitt, 44, of Houston, Texas. According to court documents, in addition to serving as Williams’ butler and bodyguard, Petitt allegedly provided child care for the other defendants and for victims while they performed commercial sex acts at the defendants’ direction. Williams made thousands of dollars in profits, while the victims received next to nothing.
The case was investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Errin Martin and Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Trial Attorney Myesha Braden.