CENTEREACH, NY (OnSachem.com / OnTownMedia.com) — Prosecutors and law enforcement officials joined Wednesday to announce the takedown of an alleged prostitution and money laundering enterprise, which included two storefronts on Middle Country Road in Centereach.
Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”), and the Suffolk County Police Department announced the arrest of four individuals.
The Suffolk DA, HSI and Suffolk County Police Department began an investigation in 2018 into alleged prostitution at two massage parlors at 1442 Middle Country Road and 2661 Middle Country Road, according to Sini. The investigation revealed evidence that JianXin You of Manhattan 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, according to the DA.
Law enforcement agents executed search warrants at six locations on Tuesday in connection with the alleged scheme, including the two locations in Centereach. The massage parlors were closed as a result of the warrants, the DA said. The search warrants 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 DA added.
“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. “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. 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. This was a complex investigation, and I thank our partners in HSI and the SCPD for their great work on this case.”
“Homeland Security Investigations is committed to working closely with our state, local, and federal partners to ensure we identify and hold to account those who seek to profit from illegal schemes based on the exploitation of women,” said Homeland Security Investigations New York Special Agent in Charge Peter Fitzhugh. “These arrests are a direct result of interagency cooperation and a testament to our combined resolve to prevent future harm to potential victims of these heinous crimes.”
“I commend the District Attorney, the U.S. Homeland Security Investigations office, and the members of the Suffolk County Police Department for their dedication to stopping a dangerous crime ring in Suffolk County and working to stop prostitution in its tracks,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart said. “This two-year investigation highlights the SCPD’s dedication to rooting out criminal organizations that seek to exploit women into a life of prostitution for their own financial gains.”
The DA announced the following arrests and criminal charges:
• JianXin You, a/k/a “Lucy” and “Yo-Yo,” 56, of Manhattan, is charged with Enterprise Corruption, a class B felony; Money Laundering in the Second Degree, a class C felony; two counts of Money Laundering in the Third Degree, a class D felony; Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony; and Conspiracy in the Fifth Degree, a class A misdemeanor.
• Li Fang, a/k/a “Baby,” 38, of Flushing, is charged with Enterprise Corruption, a class B felony, and Conspiracy in the Fifth Degree, a class A misdemeanor.
• Guang Xu, a/k/a “Salina” and “Sanlina,” 46, of Flushing, is charged with Enterprise Corruption, a class B felony, and Conspiracy in the Fifth Degree, a class A misdemeanor.
• JinYe Wu, a/k/a “Linda,” 35, of Brooklyn, is charged with Promoting Prostitution in the Third Degree, a class D felony.
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, according to the DA.
The defendants are scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday in Suffolk County First District Court.
If convicted of the top count, 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.