One of the most fascinating aspects of criminal law is learning the language of underground criminal enterprises. Most criminals are smart enough to not explicitly state what their illegal activity involves. Today, in addition to learning about a high-end prostitution ring that operated throughout Manhattan and serviced "white-collar" johns, we also got a bit of a vocabulary lesson.
Why are these acronyms important? In order to prove that one "promoted" prostitution, the details on the ring's websites have to be decoded. Here are a couple of the more relevant terms used in online advertisements, courtesy of Det. William McLaughlin of the NYPD and DNAinfo:
- GFE - Girlfriend Experience - “the woman will pretend to be the customer’s affectionate girlfriend and may engage in unprotected sex;”
- F/S - Full Service - “sexual intercourse.”
According to DNAInfo, William Thomas, 42, along with two others, Jung Lee, 28, and Rei Spain, 38, were all arrested for promoting prostitution. The “K4AKorea Private Men’s Club” operation ran out of at least three apartments and involved as many as twenty-five girls.
The New York Post has other details, including the cop-screening system employed by Thomas. In order to gain access to services, one would have to have a membership to The Erotic Review, which is apparently like Yelp! for prostitutes. A membership is acquired by posting multiple reviews or paying for an account.
Once a TER membership was acquired, one could contact Thomas to become a member of the “E4AKorea private men’s club.” Members could purchase “services,” including GFE, F/S, and of course, the classic massage with a happy ending. The rates were anywhere from $140 for the happy ending to $400 per hour for GFE.
So far, the three managers of the ring have only been charged with promoting prostitution. Under the New York Penal Code, there are four degrees of the charge:
- Fourth degree - advances or profits from prostitution or distributes obscene material to ten or more people in a public place;
- Third degree - advances or profits from a prostitution enterprise involving two or more prostitutes or employs a prostitute that is less than nineteen years old;
- Second degree - uses force or intimidation to compel prostitution or employs a prostitute that is less than sixteen years old;
- First degree - employs a prostitute that is less than eleven years old.
The crimes range in severity from a class A misdemeanor to a class B felony. Based on the leaked details about Thomas’ ring, third degree seems to be the most appropriate. He employed approximately twenty-five prostitutes. The penalty for the third degree charge, which is a class D felony, is up to seven years in prison.
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