Brothel Owner Sentenced to 87 Months in Prison

A St. Thomas brothel owner was sentenced in federal court Monday, United States Attorney Delia L. Smith announced.

Ramona Rivera Luna, 65, originally from the Dominican Republic, was sentenced to a term of 87 months imprisonment, followed by five years of supervised release, and restitution in the amount of $1,095,712 and $20,400 in a mandatory special assessment fee after pleading guilty to one count of transporting an individual in foreign commerce for the
purpose of prostitution and three counts of bringing illegal aliens to the United States for financial gain, according to the press release.

According to court documents, Rivera Luna arranged for illegal aliens living in the
Dominican Republic and Venezuela to be smuggled to St. Thomas to live and work as prostitutes at The Embers Guest House, an illegal house of prostitution that she owned and operated. Rivera Luna admitted to having lured some of these women into traveling to St. Thomas under the false pretense of providing them with legitimate employment as bartenders. Rivera Luna further admitted that she financially benefitted from this arrangement as the women were required to reimburse her for the cost of their transportation. The women were also required to pay Rivera Luna rent and a cut of the money they earned from performing commercial sex acts. In handing down the sentence, Chief Judge Molloy noted the mental anguish that Rivera Luna caused her victims to suffer.

This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and assisted by the
Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Agency, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,
Firearms and Explosives and the United States Postal Inspection Service. Assistant United States Attorney Meredith Edwards prosecuted this case.

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