LOS ANGELES – A prostitute who made little secret about her line of work, dubbing herself "Pretty Hoe" and advertising widely on social media, was charged Tuesday with recruiting minors to be hookers.
Melanie Denae Williams was indicted in U.S. District Court with trafficking minors for sex and using force or fraud to coerce an adult into prostitution. The indictment names Williams throughout by her "Pretty Hoe" moniker that she used on an official website that dubbed her "the most hated hoe in LA."
Williams, 22, was arrested Christmas Eve after forcing a woman she recruited for prostitution through social media to strip naked and then threw bleach on her and beat her with a broomstick, according to an affidavit by FBI Agent Emily Tripp.
Deputy Federal Defender David Wasserman refused to comment on the case. Williams is being held in custody and faces arraignment Friday.
The victim identified only by her initials told police Williams had forced her to sell sex and took all the proceeds, Tripp said. When the woman tried to part company, Williams threatened to kill her and her family.
Williams forced the woman to tattoo "Melanie" on her wrist and face to show she was her property, Tripp said.
A video on Williams' phone showed a gun pointed at the alleged victim and a voice, believed to be Williams, asking her if she planned to leave.
Tripp said videos on YouTube showed Williams beating unknown young women and also threatening them with a gun. Her postings on social media were replete with expletives.
One post on Snapchat stated in all caps: "I'm not scared of jail so stop telling me anything about the MF police."
An Instagram post under Williams' handle said: "Who 18+ & wanna make some legit money?"
The affidavit filed with the charges does not offer details about the minors Williams allegedly recruited, though Tripp notes that she is part of a child exploitation task force.
Williams was sentenced last year to three months in jail for prostitution, Tripp said.
If convicted, Williams could face a minimum 10-year term and could be sentenced up to life in prison, prosecutors said.