West Kingston Businessman Charged in Federal Court with Sex Trafficking a Minor

Tuesday, May 31, 2016


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Lewis Valenti, 41, a businessman out of West Kingston who has residences in Reading, Mass and East Greenwich appeared in court on Tuesday on a criminal complaint charging him with conspiracy to transport a minor interstate for prostitution and transporting a minor interstate for prostitution. 

Valenti, as ordered by U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Lincoln Almond, was released on $50,000 unsecured bond to home confinement at his Massachusetts residence with electronic monitoring. 

The Incident 

Earlier in the month, Kedwin Vargas, 25, and Rene Laureano, 30, of Roxbury, Mass, were arrested and ordered detained in this matter. Vargas and Laureano are charged by way of federal criminal complaints with conspiracy to transport a minor interstate for prostitution and transporting a minor interstate for prostitution. 

According to court documents, it is alleged that in March 2016, Lewis Valenti contacted Rhode Island State Police and alleged that Kedwin Vargas was attempting to extort him by threatening to provide a video and audio recording to his family that contained information regarding sexual encounters he allegedly had with a minor female in exchange for payment. 

An investigation by Rhode Island State Police and the FBI revealed numerous text messages and cell phone conversations between Vargas and others with Lewis, in which it is alleged that Vargas is identified as the person allegedly attempting to extort $10,000 in cash for Valenti. 

According to court documents, the investigation revealed that more than a year ago, Vargas allegedly began posting ads on backpage.com offering a minor female for prostitution. It is alleged that on numerous occasions, Laureano, who was previously employed at Valenti's agriculture business in West Kingston would drive the female to meet with customers, including Valenti. 

It is alleged in court documents that Valenti admitted to investigation that he had sexual contact with the female on numerous occasions over the past two years at his East Greenwich apartment and a several local hotels. 

A criminal complaint is merely an allegation and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William J. Ferland.


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