Phoenix police arrested six more people suspected of being involved in what authorities are calling the largest prostitution investigation in state history, raising the number of total arrests this week to 29.
Sean Carter, believed to be a key player in the high-dollar Internet and escort service operation -- allegedly led by Paradise Valley resident Paul Nichta and Valley radiologist Ross Levatter -- was arrested Wednesday.
Carter, 39, whose place of residence was unavailable, was arrested on suspicion of offenses including money laundering, running a house of prostitution, receiving the earnings of a prostitute, pandering and use of wire or electronic communication in prostitution.
In addition to Carter’s arrest, five women were arrested, all who allegedly worked as escorts for the ring which spanned throughout three states, including Pennsylvania and New Mexico.
The women arrested on suspicion of money laundering and illegal participation of an enterprise were: Michelle Lea Evans, 23, Delain Hunt, 41, Ivie Johnson, 22, Tiffany Nelson, 20, and Tanya Powers, 27, according to information released by the Phoenix police.
The investigation conducted by Phoenix police and the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office is ongoing and was launched about this time last year after Phoenix police received tips from the Scottsdale Police Department.
More than 100 prostitutes were involved and some worked for escort services such as Desert Divas LLC, Night Partners Entertainment, NPE Management Services, Hips Touring LLC, Escorts in Action, AZ Confidential and Desert Divas in New Mexico.
Police also said that thousands of “Johns” or clients are also involved and include prominent names on pages of pay ledgers.
“This will destroy families,” said Phoenix police Lt. Bill Schemers, who led the investigation.
In July, 55 people, were indicted on 17 felony counts in connection to the prostitution ring that was estimated to pull in $250,000 a month, according to information from the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.
Meanwhile, Nichta, 32, who was arrested at his residence at 6839 E. Sunnyvale Road in Paradise Valley on Monday, is being held in the Maricopa County Fourth Avenue Jail on a $1 million cash bond, according to information from the county jail.