Monday, April 21, 2008

NY: Massage Parlor Owner Pleads Guilty in Prostitution Ring

BUFFALO, NEW YORK - The main target in a 15-month human-trafficking investigation pleaded guilty in federal court in Buffalo on Thursday to forcing women to work as prostitutes in her four area massage parlors.

In exchange for her plea, Len Wah Chong promised to help prosecutors make their case against others who are believed to have used their authority and influence to illegally bring the women to Western New York, control their lives and force them to perform sexual acts.

Chong, who is from Malaysia, could have received a minimum 15-year prison term but will be sentenced to 5v to 6z years if she cooperates fully with law enforcement officials.

Under terms of the plea agreement entered before U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny, Chong, 43, admitted recruiting female employees through newspaper advertisements and contacts in New York City, sometimes representing her establishments as “licensed” and “safe” from law enforcement action.

“It’s seedy to think that she so quickly forgot what it meant to be an immigrant woman coming into this country — not having a skill, not having legal status,” U.S. Attorney Terrence P. Flynn said after the court proceeding.

Under the plea agreement, Chong, who is also known as Lisa Tsui and is a North Tonawanda resident, must pay $350,000 in restitution to 11 women who are former employees. She also will have to pay a forfeiture to the federal government of $350,000.

Chong was taken into custody until she is sentenced Aug. 14. At that time, she could also face a fine of up to $250,000 and up to five years of supervised release...

READ FULL ARTICLE AT BuffaloNews.com

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