Eleven Face Federal Charges in Metroplex Prostitution Ring
|U.S. Attorney’s Office June 20, 2013|
PLANO, TX—Eleven individuals have been indicted in connection with a prostitution ring operating in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.
A seven-count indictment was returned by a federal grand jury on June 12, 2013, charging 11 individuals in the illegal enterprise. The indictment specifically charges one count of conspiracy to use interstate facility to promote, manage, establish, carry on, and facilitate unlawful activity; four counts of use of interstate facility to promote, manage, establish, carry on, and facilitate unlawful activity; and two counts of bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds. Those named in the indictment include:
- Quyen Thuc Ha, aka Tony Ha, 53, of Richardson, Texas
- Yu Lin Chang, aka Rica, aka Jennifer, 37, of Plano, Texas
- Kim Sey Lau, aka John Wang, aka Tony, 56, of Dallas
- Lai Iong Chiu, aka Mindy, aka Winnie, aka Wendy, aka Li Yan Zhou, 46, of Plano, Texas
- Xia Xu, aka Coco, 46, of Dallas
- Yu Qian, aka Maggie, 45, of Flower Mound, Texas
- Li Meng Shank, 42, of Plano
- Prapatson Verhotz, 46, of Garland, Texas
- Tin Min Lo, aka Gordon, 51, of Coppell, Texas
- Michael Gene Jones, 64, of Georgetown, Texas
- Jia-Her Hwang, aka Jack, 65, of Richardson
According to court documents, Ha is the owner of nine businesses located in Plano, Dallas, and Hurst, Texas, that are identified as massage parlors. The indictment alleges that the massage parlors actually operate as places of prostitution, or brothels. Ha is accused of conspiring with the other defendants to use the massage parlors to facilitate prostitution. As part of the conspiracy, apartments and homes were rented in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas; brothel locations were advertised on Internet sites and in a local newspaper; and prostitutes were transported from locations including California, Nevada, and Georgia to engage in sexual activity for a fee. Ha is also alleged to have paid bribes to two local police detectives working in an undercover capacity in exchange for their assistance in keeping the brothels open and operating free from law enforcement detection.
Arrest warrants were executed on June 17, 2013, and those defendants arrested made initial appearances on June 18, 2013, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Amos Mazzant in Sherman.
If convicted of the conspiracy charge, the defendants each face up to five years in federal prison. The use of interstate facility charges also carry a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison and the bribery charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) and ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, the Plano Police Department, the Dallas Police Department, the Collin County District Attorney’s Office, and the Texas Attorney General’s Office. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mandy Griffith.
A grand jury indictment is not evidence of guilt and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.