Cops: Men Ran Prostitution Ring at Senior Facility

2 men in Massachusetts are facing charges of human trafficking
By Josh Rosenblatt,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 23, 2017 1:00 PM CST
Cops: Men Ran Prostitution Ring at Senior Facility
Joseph Van Wert (l) and Randy Lambach.   (Pittsfield Police Department)

Two men have been charged with human trafficking after police arrested them for running a prostitution ring out of a senior living facility in Pittsfield, Mass. Police say Joseph Van Wert, 65, and Randy Lambach, 45, will face a hearing later this month, the New York Daily News reports. Lambach would allegedly seek out women with drug addictions and post their pictures online, then arrange meetings with clients. Some of these meetings took place in Van Wert's apartment in a senior facility. Van Wert offered his apartment in return for cash or drugs. The Berkshire Eagle reports that the police investigation began last spring in response to citizen complaints about increased prostitution across the city.

Lambach would allegedly keep up to 90% of the money the women made, sometimes refusing them cash altogether and paying them in heroin or crack cocaine instead. At least one woman said Lambach drove her to an "appointment" across state lines. Police estimated one of the victims was 15 years old. They were also told that some of the women were Lambach's former foster children. Both men have pleaded not guilty, Lambach to four counts of human trafficking and Van Wert to conspiracy to commit human trafficking, deriving support from prostitution, maintaining a house of prostitution, and sexual conduct for a fee. (More Massachusetts stories.)

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