The pimp who sold two minor girls, ages 14 and 17, for sex to adult men in multiple cities, including Anaheim near Disneyland in April, has changed his mind, admitted to his sex crimes and signed a guilty plea.
Facing a potential life in prison sentence, Eric Lamar Wells' quick, pre-trial admission will likely substantially reduce his incarceration exposure from the maximum possible punishment, life in prison, to just 10 years, according to the deal made with federal prosecutor Mark P. Takla.
U.S. District Court Judge Cormac J. Carney, who has the final say on the extent of the punishment, has scheduled an October 22 sentencing hearing in the Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse.
According to the plea deal, Wells admitted that on April 15 in Las
Vegas, he recruited the two underage girls to work for him as
prostitutes and that he and co-defendant Tonisha Alecia Moore later transported them out of state to work in cities like Phoenix, Sacramento and Anaheim.
(Moore has also pleaded guilty to the interstate transportation of minors for prostitution.)
acknowledged that he used online classified services–including BackPage.com, which is owned by Village Voice Media, the Weekly's parent company–to sell the girls. The ads used photographs, claimed the girls were 19 years old
and, at times, offered $90 specials.
As part of the deal with the government, Wells probably will have to register as a sex offender, agree not to visit places where children play and attend mental counseling sessions.
Police uncovered the operation in Anaheim.
Moore is the mother of Wells' young child and a prostitute.
Both Wells and Moore remain in custody.
R. Scott Moxley’s award-winning investigative journalism has touched nerves for two decades. An angry congressman threatened to break Moxley’s knee caps. A dirty sheriff promised his critical reporting was irrelevant and then landed in prison. The U.S. House of Representatives debated his work. Federal prosecutors credited his stories for the arrest of a doctor who sold fake medicine to dying patients. Moxley has won Journalist of the Year honors at the Los Angeles Press Club; been named Distinguished Journalist of the Year by the LA Society of Professional Journalists; and hailed by two New York Times Magazine writers for his “herculean job” exposing Southern California law enforcement corruption.