Two New Jersey men were convicted Thursday, Nov. 14, in Lancaster County of running a prostitution and human trafficking operation that spanned multiple counties and two states.
Kenneth J. Crowell, 35, and Barry C. “Bear” Schiff, 52, were convicted of multiple charges including trafficking in individuals, corrupt organizations, involuntary servitude, conspiracy and prostitution following an eight-day jury trial.
The pair were arrested two years ago.
The Pennsylvania attorney general’s office said at the time of their arrest that they enticed women into working as prostitutes with false promises of easy money. They then controlled the women through various means of intimidation.
In addition to Lancaster County, the ring operated in Montgomery, Philadelphia and York counties and in southern New Jersey, officials said.
The operation was discovered during an undercover sting in April 2017.
Two undercover state troopers responded to a prostitution advertisement on the website Backpage and arranged a meeting with a woman at the Cork Factory Hotel in Lancaster, according to a grand jury presentment. After the officers identified themselves, the woman told them she didn’t feel safe and wanted to get out, authorities said.
Another woman said told the grand jury that Schiff told her he would “chop her up into little pieces and throw her in the river” when she said she didn’t want to work for him.
Sentencing dates haven't been scheduled.