HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – Former United Airlines pilot Bruce Wayne Wallis appeared before Harris County Judge Jim Wallace to plead guilty to running a prostitution ring.
The judge gave Wallis five years' probation. He could have faced up to 20 years in prison if found guilty at trial.
"Even though what you did is certainly despicable, you didn't endanger, as far as I know, anyone's lives. You didn't force anyone to do anything that they didn't want to do," Wallace said.
As part of the agreement, Wallis agreed not to ask that his commercial pilot’s license be reinstated while he is on probation.
He also must complete 150 hours of community service and pay a $2,000 fine.
The judge allowed him to keep his flight school open. If he successfully completes the probation, he will avoid a criminal conviction.
"I think that he recognized that while there was a crime committed, that Mr. Wallis should have an opportunity to make a living and contribute, so we're happy with the result, absolutely happy with it," defense attorney Dan Cogdell said.
Wallis was arrested in 2016 in one of the 17 raids across Houston in connection to a prostitution ring. Prosecutors said the ring involved 20 female prostitutes at more than six brothels.
"We're hopeful that he will learn his lesson and that he'll move on from there. It's been a long road to get us to this point. There's been a lot of work and difficulties and there's been a lot of harm that's taken place. I'm glad we're getting to an ending point," prosecutor Lester Blizzard said.