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Leader of prostitution ring in Oil Patch put on probation

WILLISTON -- A Wisconsin woman who authorities say helped facilitate a prostitution ring in the Oil Patch and conspired to extort thousands from a Williston man has been ordered to complete two years of probation.

WILLISTON - A Wisconsin woman who authorities say helped facilitate a prostitution ring in the Oil Patch and conspired to extort thousands from a Williston man has been ordered to complete two years of probation.

Rasheda Ross, 38, appeared in court on Monday in Williston, where District Judge Paul Jacobson also handed down a one-year prison sentence, which was suspended as part of a plea agreement.

Ross pleaded guilty to promoting prostitution and theft of property, charges that were amended in accordance with the deal. Ross, of Milwaukee, was originally arrested for human trafficking and conspiracy to commit theft of property, both Class A felonies that carry a potential of 20 years in prison.

She’d pleaded not guilty to the allegations in August, and was scheduled to go to trial four separate times before opting for the agreement hammered out by attorneys.

Authorities say Ross was a key figure in a commercial sex operation that advertised online and operated out of a Williston hotel.

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She provided transportation for the women, collected the money they earned, and posted ads online offering sexual services, according to the Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

Ross was arrested in June after she was caught driving a woman to a hotel, where an undercover agent had arranged to meet the woman for sex.

She was also accused in an extortion scheme targeting a Williston man. Police said Ross and others told the man that they would release a video of him using drugs, and hurt him and his family, if he didn’t hand over more than $100,000.

The man paid $65,000 before contacting police, who arrested Ross at his home as she tried to collect the remaining amount.

On Monday, Jacobson ordered her to repay the $65,000.

Williams County State’s Attorney Marlyce Wilder declined to comment on the outcome of the case.

Another Milwaukee woman, Crystall Hall, 30, was arrested along with Ross and charged with criminal conspiracy for her role in the extortion attempt.

Hall pleaded not guilty last July, but a trial scheduled for May was canceled, and a change of plea hearing is scheduled for July 11.

Related Topics: CRIME
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