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Leader of Violent Sex Trafficking Gang Sentenced to Life, Associate Sentenced to 37 Years

From The U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Feb 03, 2023

PHILADELPHIA, PA – United States Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero and announced that Karvarise Person, 33, of Reading, Pennsylvania, a member of the Gangster Disciples who “tied flags” with a gang called the “Sevens” in Reading and became one of its leaders, was sentenced to life imprisonment plus ten consecutive years’ imprisonment and ten years of supervised release.  James Goode, 47, also of Reading, a drug supplier and associate the “Sevens” in Reading, was sentenced to 37 years’ imprisonment and 10 years of supervised release.

If either is ever released from prison, they will also be required to register pursuant to the Sexual Offender Registration and Notification Act.

Both Person and Goode were convicted along with Shaquile Newson, 29 and Alexander Malave, 31, by a jury on June 2, 2022, of offenses including conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise; conspiracy to commit sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion, and of a minor; various violent crimes in aid of racketeering offenses including kidnapping and assaults with dangerous weapons; sex trafficking including of minors; and firearms offenses; all arising from their membership and association in a violent gang called “The Sevens,” which took control and operated out of a 50-room boarding house on South 4th Street in the City of Reading.

Person was a “general” in the Sevens gang, and trial evidence established that he was one of its most ruthless leaders. The Sevens operated primarily out of the boarding house. Person was one of 14 defendants charged with various offenses involving the violent acts of the gang, whose members represented other gangs such as the Gangster Disciples, Bloods, and Crips. One trial witness testified that when the Sevens gang took over the boarding house, it was “like Russia invading Ukraine.”

Person is the first of the gang members to be sentenced. In the course of his racketeering enterprise, he raped, robbed, caged, shot, violently beat, and caused others to do the same, under his command and leadership. Trial testimony described a shocking series of dehumanizing and violent acts. For example, victims were shot, assaulted with a baton, stabbed with a knife, and beaten with a hammer. A minor was forced to engage in a commercial sexual encounter while Person held a gun to her head; at other times, he also assaulted her with a baton and hammer and locked her naked in a dog kennel while he poked her with a knife through its bars.

Goode is the second member of the conspiracy to be sentenced. In the course of his racketeering enterprise, he distributed drugs, possessed multiple firearms, menaced a man and a woman with firearms, and raped a minor female and a woman at the boarding house.  Trial testimony described Goode’s attempts to recruit women for commercial sexual encounters by raping and then paying them, and then withholding drugs from them, all in an attempt to groom and coerce the victims into sex trafficking. In addition, Goode held a close relationship with Sevens members by working alongside them to sell drugs, participating in meetings led by the Sevens leadership, and recruiting women for commercial sex at the boarding house.

“The demise of the Sevens gang was the result of the successful collaboration among local and federal authorities to dismantle a violent gang that terrorized the City of Reading,” said U.S. Attorney Romero. “We will continue to partner with our local counterparts to bring the resources necessary to dismantle violent gangs and restore peace and safety to the communities upon which they prey.”

“The Sevens gang inflicted depraved and unprecedented violence on its victims and on the communities of Reading. I hope today’s sentencing provides some solace and justice to those brutally victimized and exploited by the Sevens gang,” said HSI Philadelphia Special Agent in Charge William S. Walker.  “It has been HSI Philadelphia’s privilege to partner with the Reading Police Department and the United States Attorney’s Office to rid the community of this predatory gang and to make our communities safer in the process.”

“The acts of this gang were despicable,” said John T. Adams, Berks County District Attorney. “Thanks to the collaborative efforts of local and federal law enforcement authorities, this gang and its leader will most likely never be released from prison, nor should they be. Hopefully this investigation and the penalties imposed will serve as a deterrent to rid our community of this type of criminal activity from occurring again. For those who continue to engage in this insidious behavior we will continue to investigate and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.  I want to thank our federal partners for a job well done and we look forward to our continuing partnership to make our community a safe place to live.”

“The sentencing of Karvarise Person and James Goode was the result of a collaborative effort between the Reading Police Department and our partners in federal law enforcement,” said Reading Police Chief Torineilli.  “The crimes committed by the Sevens gang, both directed and perpetrated by Karvarise Person, are some of the most violent, horrific, and inhumane acts we have ever witnessed in our community. While any sentence cannot undue the horrors the victims of this gang were forced to endure, they and our community can be assured that Person and his gang will no longer be able to terrorize our community.”

Sevens associates Shaquile Newson and Alexander Malave are scheduled for sentencing in Spring 2023.

The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and the Reading Police Department and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Sherri A. Stephan and Justin Ashenfelter.

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