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.)
Wells 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.
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Both Wells and Moore remain in custody.