- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 21, 2016

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - A Milwaukee woman accused of being a key figure in a prostitution ring and part of an extortion scheme in western North Dakota’s oil patch has been sentenced to two years of probation.

Rasheda Ross, 38, was involved in a commercial sex operation that advertised online and did business out of a Williston hotel, authorities said. She provided transportation for the prostitutes, collected the money they earned and posted ads online, according to the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

Ross also conspired to try to extort $100,000 from a Williston man by threatening to release a video of him using drugs and hurt him and his family, investigators said.

Ross initially faced felony charges that could have landed her in prison for up to 40 years, but reached a plea deal with prosecutors and pleaded guilty Monday to promoting prostitution and theft, the Williston Herald reported.

State District Judge Paul Jacobson issued a one-year suspended jail sentence and ordered Ross to repay $65,000 to the extortion victim - the amount authorities said the man paid before contacting police.



A second Milwaukee woman, Crystal Hall, 30, has pleaded not guilty in n the extortion scheme but has a change-of-plea hearing scheduled July 11.

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Information from: Williston Herald, https://www.willistonherald.com

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