Eastern District of Pennsylvania | A leader of a violent sex trafficking gang was sentenced to life in prison followed by a 10-year sentence and a gang member to 37 years in prison

PHILADELPHIA, PA — US Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero announced that Karvarise Person, 33, of Reading, Pennsylvania, is a member of the Gangster Disciples who “tied flags” with a gang called the “Sevens” in Reading and one of them became a leader, was sentenced to life imprisonment plus ten years in prison and ten years of supervised release. James Goode, 47, also from Reading, a drug dealer and associate of the Reading Sevens, was sentenced to 37 years in prison and 10 years supervised release.

If either is ever released from custody, they must also register under the Sex Offender Registration and Reporting Act.

Both Person and Goode, along with Shaquile Newson, 29, and Alexander Malave, 31, were convicted by a jury on June 2, 2022 of felonies including conspiracy to participate in a ransomware; conspiracy to commit sex trafficking through violence, fraud and coercion and a minor; various violent crimes committed in support of extortion crimes, including kidnappings and assaults with dangerous weapons; sex trafficking, including of minors; and firearms offences; all result from their membership and association in a violent gang known as “The Sevens”, which took control and operated out of a 50-room boarding house on South 4th Street in the town of Reading.

Person was a “general” in the Sevens gang, and evidence from the trial revealed he was one of their most ruthless leaders. The Sevens operated primarily out of the boarding house. Person was one of 14 defendants charged with various offenses related to the violent acts committed by the gang, whose members represented other gangs such as gangster Disciples, Bloods and Crips. A witness at the trial testified that the Sevens gang’s takeover of the pension was “like an invasion of Ukraine by Russia”.

Person is the first of the gang members to be convicted. In the course of his criminal endeavor, he raped, robbed, imprisoned, shot, brutally beat and caused others to do the same, under his command and guidance. Testimonies in court described a shocking series of dehumanizing and violent acts. For example, victims were shot, assaulted with a baton, stabbed with a knife, and hit with a hammer. A minor was forced into a commercial sexual encounter while person held a gun to her head; at other times he would also attack her with a baton and hammer and lock her naked in a kennel while stabbing her through the bars with a knife.

Goode is the second conspiracy member to be convicted. In the course of his criminal venture, he distributed drugs, possessed multiple firearms, threatened a man and a woman with guns, and raped an underage woman and a woman at the boarding house. Trial testimonies described Goodes’ attempts to recruit women for commercial sexual encounters by raping them and then paying them and then withholding drugs from them, all in an attempt to groom the victims and coerce the sex trade. In addition, Goode maintained a close relationship with Sevens members, working with them to sell drugs, attending meetings run by Sevens leadership, and recruiting women for commercial sex in the boarding house.

“The demise of the Sevens gang was the result of successful cooperation between local and federal authorities in dismantling a violent gang that terrorized the city of Reading,” said US Attorney Romero. “We will continue to work with our local colleagues to provide the resources needed to disrupt violent gangs and restore peace and security to the communities they hunt.”

“The Sevens gang have inflicted depraved and unprecedented violence on their victims and on the communities of Reading. I hope today’s sentencing brings some comfort and justice to those who were brutally harassed and exploited by the Sevens gang,” said William S. Walker, Acting Special Agent at HSI Philadelphia. “It has been HSI Philadelphia’s privilege to work with the Reading Police Department and the United States Attorney’s Office to rid the community of this predatory gang and make our communities safer in the process.”

“The actions of this gang were despicable,” said John T. Adams, District Attorney for Berks County. “Thanks to the combined efforts of local and state law enforcement, this gang and their leader will most likely never be released from prison, and neither should they. Hopefully this investigation and the penalties imposed will serve as a deterrent to rid our community of this type of criminal activity. 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 continued partnership to make our community a safe place to live.”

“The conviction of Karvarise Person and James Goode was the result of a collaborative effort between the Reading Police Department and our federal law enforcement partners,” said Reading Police Commissioner Torineilli. “The crimes committed by the Sevens gang, both directed and committed by Karvarise Person, are some of the most violent, horrific and inhumane acts we have ever witnessed in our community. While no judgment can undo the horrors this gang’s victims have endured, you and our community can rest assured that Person and his gang will no longer be able to terrorize our community.”

Sevens employees Shaquile Newson and Alexander Malave are scheduled to be sentenced in spring 2023.

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