Four individuals were arrested this week for allegedly operating a prostitution and money laundering enterprise in Suffolk County.
According to Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini, Homeland Security Investigations and the Suffolk County Police Department began an investigation in 2018 into alleged prostitution at two massage parlors at 1442 Middle Country Road and 2661 Middle County Road in Centereach.
JianXin You, 56, of Manhattan, Li Fang, 38, of Flushing, Guang Xu, 46, of Flushing and JinYe Wu, 35, of Brooklyn were all charged with different counts of money laundering, conspiracy and prostitution.
“What is unique about this investigation is that historically, investigations into illicit massage parlors often result in the arrest of workers during raids,” Sini said in a statement. “What we have here is a different approach: one that gets to the root of the problem by targeting the leadership of the criminal organization behind these establishments and dismantling that enterprise from the top.”
The investigation revealed evidence that You and her associates allegedly engaged in a pattern of promoting prostitution at the locations by procuring female workers, soliciting patrons and profiting from the prostitution operation.
Additionally, the defendants allegedly laundered the criminal proceeds through various methods, including depositing cash into a business entity account in the name of New Green Aroma Spa Inc., to pay for expenses associated with the illegal operation, remitting large sums of money to other individuals’ accounts, purchasing property, and exchanging the proceeds for foreign currencies.
“This alleged criminal network made hundreds of thousands of dollars off the backs of the women they employed while putting the health of those workers and the community at risk, and deteriorating the quality of life in these neighborhoods,” Sini added.
The search warrants at the locations resulted in the recovery of two ghost guns, which were seized from a private residence in connection with the investigation, and more than $250,000 cash.
The defendants are scheduled to be arraigned today in Suffolk County First District Court.
If convicted, You, Fang and Xu each face a maximum sentence of eight and one-third to 25 years in prison. If convicted, Wu faces a maximum sentence of two and one-third to seven years in prison.