A 64-year-old Baltimore financier has been arrested on federal charges that he spent $90,000 on a sex-trafficking business.
Charles “Chuck” Nabit, who owns the Westport Group LLC, was arrested Wednesday and released after posting a property bond. Nabit also has owned Baltimore restaurants including the Waterfront Kitchen and has sat on several prominent boards.
His attorney could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday after the charges were announced.
Nabit’s arrest grew out of charges against an alleged trafficker, Deangelo Johnson, who was indicted in October after an investigation that began in Howard County, records show.
The criminal complaint says that commercial sex workers trafficked by Johnson told investigators that Nabit used a cash app to pay Johnson directly for sex acts, and investigators documented 52 occasions beginning in March 2019.
One of the victims said she would be driven to Nabit’s office on Commerce Street in downtown Baltimore, where he recorded the interactions on a GoPro camera. Text messages reviewed by investigators showed the sex workers questioning why Johnson was taking money that Nabit was paying for sex, the complaint shows.
“Victim 3 said that after JOHNSON was arrested and because NABIT knew the females had drug addictions, NABIT started to give them less money for engaging in sex with him,” investigators wrote. “Victim 3 stated that because of their drug addictions, NABIT knew they were desperate for money so he could pay them less.”
Another exchange of messages shows one of the victims asking Nabit for money and a hotel room.
“You’re right. Go the F away loser; I had $500 for you if you showed up. Not now,” he allegedly wrote.
If convicted, Nabit faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison for charges of use of an interstate facility to promote a prostitution business.
The six-count indictment against Johnson, who has been jailed since being arrested last year, says that he routinely took “half or all” of the money victims working for him had earned, and charged them for drugs he sold them. The charges say he used “force, fraud and coercion.” He has pleaded not guilty.