A United Airlines pilot faces up to 20 years in prison after getting busted for allegedly running a “massive” prostitution ring in locations throughout the greater Houston area, including in an apartment complex where former President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush once lived in the 1970’s.
Harris County authorities arrested Bruce Wayne Wallis, 51, Wednesday, following an eight month investigation in which they charged the pilot with two felonies: aggravated promotion of prostitution and engaging in organized criminal activity. Because of the suspect’s name being “Bruce Wayne” name, investigators named the investigation “Batman.”
Purportedly, Wallis ran at least a half-dozen brothels with approximately six to 10 women throughout the Houston area. He faces up to 20 years in prison, if convicted. Wallis appeared in a probable cause court Thursday, ABC News reported. He made bail which was set at $15,000 for the charges.
Lester Blizzard, the assistant district attorney for Harris County, called the criminal business “massive,” according to the Houston Chronicle. “It’s the largest operation that I’ve ever worked on,” he said, citing the eight months-long investigation. Blizzard said 26 warrants were served this week prior to Wallis’ arrest. He credited investigators with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the human trafficking division of Houston Police Department for their joint efforts to crack the prostitution case that included more than a half dozen makeshift brothels run out of area offices and otherwise legitimate buildings and apartment complexes. Authorities confirmed one of the venues was the Chateaux Dijon apartments where former President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush resided in the 1970’s.
Court documents also show Wallis accused of using Eastex Aero, his flight school and charter service in Porter, north of Houston, as a front to make sure the women who worked for him had a “legitimate” employment records and financial statements. Investigators believe the women advertised their sex services online and paid Wallis $400 a week for those advertisements. Wallis is also accused of recruiting five women at a time and having sex with them before putting them to work as prostitutes, according to the Houston newspaper.
Blizzard said that Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson’s office takes complex organized criminal activity cases like this seriously.
Wallis lives in the Houston suburb of Kingwood, according to police records. United Airlines officials confirmed the pilot as an employee and said he was removed from his flying duties. “We hold our employees to the highest standard,” an airline spokesman said. “We are assisting authorities in this matter.”
KENS 5, the San Antonio CBS-TV affliate, reported that Wallis’ neighbors had no idea of what occurred, saying they did not notice anything suspicious until the pilot’s arrest. “He was a good ole Texas boy” said neighbor Bob Williams. “As far as I know, he was a real nice guy.”
The grounded Wallis earned his pilot’s license more than 15 years ago. In 2013, Aviation Business Gazette reported that the Federal Aviation Administration added him to the Airmen Certification Database, a prestigious list of certified pilots reserved for those who meet or exceed the FAA’s high educational, licensing, and medical standards.
Harris County officials also arrested Tracie Rebekah Tanner, 37, a woman from the Houston area, as an accomplice to Wallis. She allegedly helped him manage the illegal sex operation. Tanner was charged with one felony count of aggravated promotion of prostitution. She made a $5,000 bond, although, if convicted, she faces a prison sentence of up to 10 years.
Eighteen other women found themselves charged with prostitution. Several of them appeared to be Russian, according to the Chronicle. Apparently, no clients were arrested.
Follow Merrill Hope on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.