Six arrested after massage parlor investigation in Utah County

L-R, top: Jun Yan Li, Xiao Ling Wang, Yan Tomney; bottom: Yue Ming, Xiao Wang, Joseph Ferreri. Photos: Utah County

UTAH COUNTY, Utah, Feb. 5, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — At least six people have been arrested after a multi-month investigation into alleged human trafficking, prostitution and money laundering at multiple massage parlors in Utah County.

American Fork police received an online complaint in September regarding a new “Asian” massage parlor at 376 E. 60 South in that city. The parlor’s website offered sexually oriented massages, the anonymous complainant said.

The complainant stated that if a male was sent in and became naked, the masseuse would touch him inappropriately, and “If you do not complain, she will continue, and even make offers for more,” a probable cause statement says.

The statement, filed by an officer of the American Fork Police Department, said “Asian” massage parlors are often operated by criminal organizations, and workers are often victims of human trafficking.

“Some of the Asian females are forced to live in small closets or rooms within the massage business premise and given only minimal means for survival,” the police statement says. “If the Asian female victims are not living on the store premise, they often live with several other Asian women who are also victims of the human trafficking organization in apartment buildings or homes owned or rented by members of the criminal organization.”

The probable cause statement — which was nearly identical for all suspects — says surveillance was conducted, and found the woman who applied for the business license at Sunflower Massage, and found she also owned Relax Wood and Small Rainbow, both in Orem, and Magic Massage, in American Fork.

“Detectives have found through surveillance that most of the female masseurs appear to stay at the different parlors they work at,” the probable cause statement says. “Detectives have rarely seen the female workers leave through multiple hours of surveillance, both physical and electronic.

“Through my training, experience and conversations with other officers who specialize in this field, I have found that rarely if ever are the Asian females involved in being trafficked allowed to leave the business. This is done to control the female individuals and keep them involved in trafficking.”

Detectives performed multiple undercover operations where officers were sent in as patrons to the different massage parlors, “and found each of the above listed massage parlors solicited sexual acts in exchange for payment,” the statement says.

“Detectives performed undercover operations on Sunflower Massage, Relax Wood LLC, Magic Massage, and Small Rainbow. At the undercover operations the Asian female masseurs solicited sexual activities in exchange for money, this was denied by undercover officers.”

On Thursday, officers served a search warrant at an American Fork massage parlor. One female worker, Yan Tomney, and a massage client were located.

“Post Miranda, the male admitted to finding the massage parlor on dark web sites and communicating with a contact number with price and services provided. The male admitted to agreeing on a $60 purchase for a massage and a ‘happy ending.'”

During the massage, the man told police, he and the woman agreed on another act for the cost of $140, the statement says.

Post Miranda, Tomney told officers she arrived in Utah last month, from Boise, Idaho, and “was in the process of purchasing the Sunflower massage parlor from another individual who is involved in human trafficking,” using money she had earned working at the business.

The suspects are Jun Li, 36, of Orem; Xiao Ling Wang, 42, of American Fork; Yue Ming, 39, of Orem; Tomney, 44, of American Fork; Ju Ying Wang, 56, of American Fork; Joseph Edward Ferreri, 54, of Salina.

Charges facing the suspects are:

Li:

  • Human trafficking, a second-degree felony
  • Money laundering, a second-degree felony
  • Pattern of unlawful activity, a second-degree felony
  • Aiding prostitution, a class A misdemeanor
  • Two counts of prostitution, a class B misdemeanor

Xiao Ling Wang:

  • Human trafficking, a second-degree felony
  • Money laundering, a second-degree felony
  • Pattern of unlawful activity, a second-degree felony
  • Aiding prostitution, a class A misdemeanor
  • Prostitution, a class B misdemeanor

Ming and Tomney:

  • Money laundering, a second-degree felony
  • Pattern of unlawful activity, a second-degree felony
  • Unlawful/unprofessional conduct, a class A misdemeanor
  • Prostitution, a class B misdemeanor

Ju Ying Wang:

  • Pattern of unlawful activity, a second-degree felony
  • Two counts of prostitution, a class B misdemeanor

Ferreri:

  • Pattern of unlawful activity, a second-degree felony
  • Aiding prostitution, a class A misdemeanor

The five female suspects are being held without bail. Ferreri was ordered released on $5,000 bond and with multiple conditions.

1 COMMENT

  1. How come ferreri got to have bail and the others didn’t?? Doesent seen fair?? What’s so special about that person????? They all should stay in jail..what’s good for one is good for all don’t you think??? This is all so sad for trafficking. So sad..😢😥😞

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