Allen "Prince'' Brown, 48, pleaded guilty today to first-degree racketeering and second-degree theft by extortion before state Superior Court Judge Kevin G. Callahan in Jersey City, according to state Criminal Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor.
Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that he be sentenced to 20 years in state prison, including 12 years and nine months of parole ineligibility. The charges were contained in an Aug. 7 indictment.In pleading guilty, Brown admitted that he used violence and drugs to control women and force them to engage in prostitution. He further admitted that he extorted money from one victim who received an inheritance from her family estate, making threats against her and her family to force her to turn over the money.
The charges resulted from "Operation Red Light," an investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau and the Jersey City police.
Four other people in the case have pleaded guilty.
Brown faces consecutive sentences under the plea agreement of 12 years on the racketeering charge, including six years of parole ineligibility, and eight years on the extortion charge, including six years and nine months of parole ineligibility. Callahan scheduled sentencing for May 19.
The plea agreement also calls for Brown's mother, Tecora P. Brown, 73, of Bayonne, to plead guilty on April 19 to third-degree promoting prostitution. She faces probation.
"This guilty plea ensures that the defendant will serve a lengthy prison sentence," state Attorney General Paula T. Dow said. "Allen Brown liked to call himself ‘Prince,' but he was the antithesis of a prince, using narcotics, violence and coercion to keep young women enslaved in a life of prostitution. We have put an end to his reign of human exploitation."
"One by one, we are bringing those responsible to justice for this tragic case of forced prostitution," Taylor said. "The five guilty pleas taken to date, and particularly this plea from the ringleader, are a testament to the outstanding cooperative investigation conducted by the Division of Criminal Justice and the Jersey City Police Department."
"I would like to commend all of the individuals involved in taking down this dangerous man who preyed on women," said Jersey City Police Chief Thomas Comey. "Allen Brown, aka ‘Prince,' was a leader in a human trafficking enterprise that law enforcement was able to infiltrate and dismantle. Mr. Brown will no longer be a predator on our streets."
Authorities said the investigation revealed that for nearly two decades, Brown ran prostitution rings in Jersey City, coercing scores of women to prostitute for him. Through the years, Brown had residences that served as "stables" in a number of locations in Jersey City, where he would hold women brought from other cities. He brought women from cities including Camden, Atlantic City, Elizabeth, Newark and Philadelphia. His last location was 18 Lyon Court in Jersey City, an upscale condo development on Newark Bay in the Society Hill section of the city.
Once the women went with Brown, he would take away their cell phones and any form of identification they possessed. A number of the locations where they were housed had reverse locks on them that could not be unlocked from the inside without a key. Only a select few had a key. The others would be locked in until it was time to work again. None of the women were allowed to go anywhere alone or without permission.
The women forced to prostitute for Brown were given heroin and cocaine so Brown could control them and exploit their addiction. They were driven to "tracks" - motels or streets in Jersey City and sometimes locations in other cities - where they were expected to make a certain amount of money each night turning tricks to cover their daily drug debt and provide a profit for Brown. If they did not make the daily quota, ranging from $500-$1,000, they were refused drugs, beaten or denied entry into the house until the money was made. Brown collected all money and ordered subordinates to secure and control the women.
On July 28, the woman who acted as boss over the women for Brown, Annie "China'' Cooper, 41, of Jersey City, pleaded guilty to first-degree racketeering. The state will recommend a prison sentence of five to 10 years when she is sentenced on April 16.
The enterprise included subordinates responsible for transporting the women to work as prostitutes, obtaining drugs for the women, maintaining the household and vehicles, and securing the women. Three men were indicted for those activities: Anthony Evans, 52, of Jersey City; Brown's nephew, Arthur Brown, 38, of Jersey City; and Jerome Robinson, 31, of Newark.
Arthur Brown previously pleaded guilty to third-degree promoting prostitution. The state will recommend a sentence of five years in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for May 5. Anthony Evans also pleaded guilty to third-degree promoting prostitution. The state will recommend that he be sentenced to four years in state prison. His sentencing is scheduled for April 16.
Over the years, Allen Brown made hundreds of thousands of dollars, which he used to furnish his home, purchase jewelry, buy vehicles, and purchase drugs. The ring also included individuals who laundered the criminal proceeds through various financial transactions. Frequently Brown used family members and friends to act as the legitimate holder of vehicle titles, real property leases, cash and other property that he paid for with criminal proceeds. Those people included his niece, Tecora L. Brown, 35, of Jersey City, and Marlo Taylor, 39, of Newark.
Tecora L. Brown pleaded guilty to third-degree money laundering. She faces a sentence of probation. Her sentencing is scheduled for May 5. The charges against Jerome Robinson and Marlo Taylor are pending.
Brown, Cooper and Evans were arrested on Sept. 12, 2008, when detectives from the Division of Criminal Justice and Jersey City police executed a search warrant at 18 Lyon Court. Arthur Brown was also charged that day.
Deputy Attorney General Annmarie Taggart is prosecuting the case. The investigation was conducted for the Division of Criminal Justice by Det. Noelle Holl, Supervising Deputy Attorney General Lauren Scarpa Yfantis, and the Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau North Squad. The investigation was conducted for the Jersey City police by Capt. Gary Lallo and the Special Investigation Unit. Det. Mike Kurinzi of the Elizabeth police provided critical assistance.
– TOM HESTER SR., NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM