Two Wayzata residents face multiple felony charges for racketeering, sex trafficking and prostitution for allegedly running a nationwide commercial sex business from a Lake Minnetonka home.
Ricky Arlen Turner, 28, faces four felony charges, and Brittany Marie Harenza, 25, faces two felony charges, in Washington County District Court. Both made their first appearance Thursday.
Turner’s unconditional bail was set at $500,000 and Harenza’s bail was set at $150,000. Both are scheduled to make their next court appearance May 24.
The pair were arrested Wednesday, Turner at the lake home, and Harenza at a Woodbury hotel, according to Washington County arrest records.
According to the criminal complaints against the pair, an investigation by Woodbury Police into backpage.com escort listings led to phone number and social media account and email addresses allegedly belonging to Harenza and Turner, and a IP address for the home along McKenzie Point Road.
The investigation also revealed that they were business partners in “Finesse,” a commercial sex business operating all over the country, with Turner promoting the prostitution of Harenza and Harenza recruiting and training other women to join their illegal enterprise. Video footage posted on their social media sites allegedly showed large amounts of cash, credit cards business and incorporation documents with the “Finesse” name listed.
The official business, Finesse the World and Co. LLC, had filed with the Secretary of State and listed a business address in Woodbury. The website for the company claims to sell clothing, but no items were listed for sale.
Police surveillance of the Lake Minnetonka home revealed that both defendants frequented the residence, with frequent short-term traffic coming and going from the home’s guest house, an indication of commercial sex activity. The home’s rental fee is more than $5,000, according to the police investigation. That information, and the large amounts of cash, expensive possessions at a BMW 7 series car in social media images, led officers to investigate the pair’s tax records. Neither had filed a tax return since 2014.
The police departments from Woodbury, Minnetonka, St. Paul, Oakdale, Cottage Grove and Eden Prairie and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office participated in a Tuesday undercover operation that set up a “date” with Harenza at a Woodbury hotel, where Harenza was arrested. She allegedly admitted to posting advertisements on backpage.com but denied being a trafficking victim.
Turner was arrested at the lake residence after a search warrant was executed on the home. Two females, age 17 and 18, were with Turner in a vehicle, and both were identified in the complaints as students at a local high school. One of the girls said she met Turner at a Wayzata restaurant and they had discussed her doing sex work for him.
Turner allegedly admitted to profiting from commercial sex by multiple females and to admitted to trafficking multiple women.
Contact Gretchen Schlosser at [email protected]