They preyed on women from Florida as well as those from other states throughout the U.S. who were homeless, in financial straits, or vulnerable in similar ways. Last week, thirty-year old Jamar Marvin Simmons a/k/a “Mar”, a former fireman, pleaded guilty to charges of sex trafficking of a minor in association with a prostitution operation he set up along with Franklin Roosevelt Coit, 34. His co-defendant, pleaded guilty to the same charge in early August. Simmons was arrested on Feb. 13 and Coit was already in custody.
From 2009 through 2012, the pair misleadingly advertised positions on the Internet offering work for exotic dancers and escorts when it was actually intended for them to participate in their prostitution endeavor. The land-based portion of their business was located in the metropolitan area of Baltimore City, Maryland. According to the six-count indictment, in addition to women that answered their ad from Florida, they agreed to assist women in traveling to their state from various locations outside of Maryland. The other states specifically named in the indictment were New York, Delaware, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Texas, and South Dakota. They also solicited women from their own home state as laid out in the indictment. It further went on to point out that at least one minor female was involved in their sex for money scheme.
In addition to the two perpetrators operating what has been labeled a brothel in Baltimore City, they also rented out hotel rooms and a separate residence in the State that were also used for the services provided by the women, according to court documents.
Once each woman was under their influence, the two perpetrators photographed them in a sexually explicit manner and then posted their images on an advertising website under the category of escorts. The women’s contact information including telephone numbers were listed, displaying where the women could be contacted for the purpose of scheduling a date. Simmons and Coit received the funds of all transactions and split the money fashioned by the women’s activities. It was also stated that they used a gun with ammunition to guard the illicit operation’s properties as well as its cash receipts.
Simmons was in charge of setting the pricing for sex acts with the women and he taught the women how to arrange dates over the phone, He also advised the women how to avoid exposure to law enforcement agencies.
Coit and Simmons now face maximum sentences of five years in prison for the crime of conspiracy, as well as 10 years to life for the sex trafficking of a minor count. Enticing or coercing individuals to engage in prostitution can yield 20 years in prison and they can face 10 years in prison each for the interstate transportation for the purpose of prostitution. The charge of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking can similarly deliver a maximum term of life in prison. Additionally, Coit is also looking at up to 10 years in prison for being a convicted felon in custody of a firearm. He had been previously held on state charges.
Each will learn their fate on separate days. Coit is to be sentenced on November 1 and Simmons will realize his sentence on December 13.
The investigation was led by the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force along with 10 other separate federal and state law enforcement organizations. In Maryland, the Innocent Images National Initiative was formed in 2010 to battle exploitation and prostitution of children The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children was coordinated with the Task Force along with the Maryland State Police Child Recovery Unit that identifies missing minors that are being presented on the Internet for the purpose of prostitution.
U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein announced the guilty pleas in coordination with Commissioner Anthony W. Batts of the Baltimore Police Department and Baltimore City State’s Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein, with the steady support of the FBI’s Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt.
As clearly stated in the above article, a guilty plea and conviction of any sex crime can be extremely unforgiving and usually include lengthy incarceration, including the possibility of life in prison The charges of sex trafficking of a minor, sex trafficking of children and inducing a minor to engage in commercial sex act will be tried in the federal court system. It is crucial that if you, a friend or loved one is charged with any federal sex crime or any other crime tried under federal jurisdiction, a knowledgeable criminal attorney with a strong understanding of federal law is required.
Mr. Cohen is a board certified criminal trial lawyer rated AV by Martindale Hubbel (pre-eminent) and a “Super Lawyer” recognized as being in the top 5% of his specialized field (criminal trial law) among Florida lawyers. He is considered a specialist by the Florida Bar in his field. Mr. Cohen has tried scores of cases over his 35 year career and is a member of the Florida and New York Bars. He practices in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Miami, among other counties. He is also admitted to practice in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh and Second Circuit.
Mr. Cohen’s practice has recently expanded and he is now a partner in the prestigious law firm of McLaughlin & Stern, LLP. Through this partnership, Mr. Cohen can now lead your defense in the New York Metropolitan area in addition to the Broward, Dade, or Palm Beach County areas as well as all other jurisdictions throughout the state of Florida
Mr. Cohen is also listed in the 2013 edition of “Best Lawyers in America”