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THE COLONY, Texas — A north Texas woman was sentenced to 144 months in federal prison for her role in what federal prosecutors described as a "massive" international Thai sex trafficking organization.

41-year-old Waralee Wanless of The Colony, Texas, was sentenced yesterday before Senior Judge Donovan Frank in U.S. District Court in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Wanless, according to federal prosecutors, was responsible for coercing hundreds of Thai women from Bangkok, Thailand, on the promise of a better life in the United Stated and the ability to provide their families in Thailand with money. Instead, once the victims arrived in the United States, they were sent to houses of prostitution where they were forced to have sex with strangers every day, for up to 12 hours a day, and, at times, with 10 men a day.

"The victims were isolated from the outside world and their families in Thailand were threatened," read a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Wanlass ran prostitution houses in the Dallas, Chicago, and Washington D.C. areas while the organization operated others in, among other cities, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Houston, Austin, and Seattle.

"As proven at trial, the organization also engaged in widespread visa fraud to facilitate the international transportation of the victims and engaged in rampant and sophisticated money laundering in order to promote and conceal illegal profits," stated the U.S. Attorney's Office. "During the extensive investigation, law enforcement traced tens of millions of dollars to the organization."

Wanless was among give defendants convicted on December 12, 2018, following a six-week trial. 31 other defendants plead guilty prior to that trial. To date, 30 defendants have been sentenced to federal prison. Wanless was convicted of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, conspiracy to commit transportation to engage in prostitution, conspiracy to engage in money laundering, and conspiracy to use a communication facility to promote prostitution. Following her 144 month prison sentence, the judge ordered five years of supervised release.

Defendants:

MICHAEL J. MORRIS, 65

Seal Beach, Calif.

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, 1 count
  • Sex trafficking by use of force, fraud, and coercion, 1 count
  • Conspiracy to commit transportation to engage in prostitution, 1 count
  • Conspiracy to engage in money laundering, 1 count
  • Conspiracy to use a communication facility to promote prostitution, 1 count

PAWINEE UNPRADIT, 46 

Dallas, Texas

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, 1 count
  • Conspiracy to commit transportation to engage in prostitution, 1 count
  • Conspiracy to engage in money laundering, 1 count
  • Conspiracy to use a communication facility to promote prostitution, 1 count

SAOWAPHA THINRAM, 44 

Hutto, Texas

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, 1 count
  • Conspiracy to commit transportation to engage in prostitution, 1 count
  • Conspiracy to engage in money laundering, 1 count
  • Conspiracy to use a communication facility to promote prostitution, 1 count

THOUCHARIN RUTTANAMONGKONGUL, 35 

Chicago, Ill.

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, 1 count
  • Conspiracy to commit transportation to engage in prostitution, 1 count
  • Conspiracy to engage in money laundering, 1 count
  • Conspiracy to use a communication facility to promote prostitution, 1 count

WARALEE WANLESS, 39

The Colony, Texas

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, 1 count
  • Conspiracy to commit transportation to engage in prostitution, 1 count
  • Conspiracy to engage in money laundering, 1 count
  • Conspiracy to use a communication facility to promote prostitution, 1 count

CHATARAK TAUFFLIEB, 52

San Jose, Calif.

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, 1 count
  • Conspiracy to engage in money laundering, 1 count

PEERACHET THIPBOONNGAM, 58

Los Angeles, Calif.

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, 1 count
  • Conspiracy to engage in money laundering, 1 count

GREGORY ALLEN KIMMY, 38

Hutto, Texas

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy to commit transportation to engage in prostitution, 1 count
  • Conspiracy to engage in money laundering, 1 count

WILAIWAN PHIMKHALEE, 40

Chicago, Ill.

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, 1 count
  • Conspiracy to engage in money laundering, 1 count

KANYARAT CHAIWIRAT, 52

Chicago, Ill.

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, 1 count
  • Conspiracy to engage in money laundering, 1 count

PORNTHEP SUKPRASERT, 42

Huntington Beach, Calif.

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy to engage in money laundering, 1 count

MULCHULEE CHALERMSAKULRAT, 41

Huntington Beach, Calif.

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy to engage in money laundering, 1 count

BHUNNA WIN, 51

San Diego, Calif.

Convicted:

  • Unlicensed money transmitting business, 1 count

NATCHANOK YUVASUTA, 50

Los Angeles, Calif.

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy to engage in money laundering, 1 count

NATTAYA LEELARUNGRAYAB, 47

Los Angeles, Calif.

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy to engage in money laundering, 1 count

PEERASAK GUNTETONG, 61

North Hollywood, CA

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy to engage in money laundering, 1 count

VEERAPON GHETTALAE, 57

Lake Elsinore, Calif.

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy to engage in money laundering, 1 count

MATTHEW MINTZ, 27

Chicago, Ill.

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy to commit alien harboring, 1 count
  • Conspiracy to engage in money laundering, 1 count

MOHIT TANDON, 38

Burr Ridge, Ill.

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy to commit transportation to engage in prostitution, 1 count
  • Conspiracy to engage in money laundering, 1 count

RICHARD ALEXANDER, 53

DeKalb, Ill.

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy to commit marriage fraud, 1 count
  • Conspiracy to engage in money laundering, 1 count

TANAKRON PATRATH, 60

Houston, Texas

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy to engage in money laundering, 1 count

PANWAD KHOTPRATOOM, 47

Houston, Texas

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, 1 count
  • Conspiracy to engage in money laundering, 1 count

CHABAPRAI BOONLUEA, 44

Winder, Ga.

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, 1 count
  • Conspiracy to engage in money laundering, 1 count

NOPPAWAN LERSLURCHACHAI, 37

Lomita, Calif.

Convicted:

  • Sex trafficking by use of force, fraud, and coercion, 1 count
  • Conspiracy to engage in money laundering, 1 count

WATCHARIN LUAMSEEJUN, 48

Unknown

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, 1 count
  • Conspiracy to engage in money laundering, 1 count

PANTILA RODPHOKHA, 33

Mount Prospect, Ill.

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, 1 count
  • Conspiracy to engage in money laundering, 1 count

SOYSUDA SIANGDANG, 34

Chicago, Ill.

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, 1 count
  • Conspiracy to engage in money laundering, 1 count

ANDREW FLANIGAN, 53

Winder, Ga.

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy to commit transportation to engage in prostitution, 1 count
  • Conspiracy to engage in money laundering, 1 count

TODD VASSEY, 56

Lahanina, Hawaii

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy to commit transportation to engage in prostitution, 1 count
  • Conspiracy to engage in money laundering, 1 count

THI VU, 50

Atlanta, Ga.

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, 1 count
  • Conspiracy to engage in money laundering, 1 count

JOHN ZBRACKI, 61

Lakeville, Minn.

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy to commit transportation to engage in prostitution, 1 count
  • Conspiracy to engage in money laundering, 1 count

JOHN NG, 41

Cottage Grove, Minn.

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy to commit transportation to engage in prostitution, 1 count
  • Conspiracy to engage in money laundering, 1 count

PATCHARAPORN SAENGKHAM, 43

Los Angeles, Calif.

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy to enter the United States by means of misrepresentation and concealment of facts, 1 count

CHANANCHIDA SENASU, 42

Dallas, Tex.

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy to enter the United States by means of misrepresentation and concealment of facts, 1 count

YADAPORN PANNGOEN, 32

Chicago, Ill.

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy to enter the United States by means of misrepresentation and concealment of facts, 1 count

CHONTHICHA SOICHAISONG, 38

Austin, Tex.

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy to enter the United States by means of misrepresentation and concealment of facts, 1 count
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