ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) – A St. Louis woman is accused of forcing two area woman into prostitution and keeping them there for nearly two years.
A federal grand jury indicted 26 year-old Carla Mathews on three felony counts of sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion. The indictment was returned Wednesday, May 9th, but remained sealed until the arrest of the defendant earlier today. She is expected to appear in federal court today.
According to court documents Mathews physically assaulted two women and forced them to engage in prostitution in the St. Louis metropolitan area between 2010 and the present day.
The indictment also alleges that Mathews confiscated their food-stamp identification (EBT) cards to control them and deprive them of food and drink as a method of control, and provided the drug MDMA and clothing in preparation for the commercial sex dates arranged by Mathews.
If convicted, each count of the indictment carries a penalty range of fifteen years to life in prison and/or fines up to $250,000. In determining the actual sentences, a Judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Investigations, and the Breckenridge Hills Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Noelle Collins is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
As is always the case, charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations and do not constitute proof of guilt. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.