Renton woman indicted for allegedly promoting prostitution at the Aloha Tanning Resort
November 19, 2008 · 10:46 AM
By the Renton Reporter
The manager of a now-closed tanning salon in Renton has been indicted on federal charges of allegedly promoting prostitution at the salon, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Charged is Nguyen Tran Nguyen, 26, of Renton, the manager of the closed Aloha Tanning Resort, 2828 Sunset Lane N.E., in Renton. Two other businesses are involved, the Malibu Tanning Spa on Interurban Avenue South in Tukwila and the Avalon Spa on Aurora Avenue North in Seattle.
The other person indicted is Donald Kerry Frey, 36, of South Lake Tahoe, Calif.
Police in Seattle and King County served search warrants and made arrests Tuesday morning following a long-term investigation into the efforts to arrange the travel of sex workers to tanning salon and two others in the Seattle area.
Formally, the charges are conspiracy to transport individuals in furtherance of prostitution and money-laundering conspiracy.
In 2006, 2007, and 2008, Nguyen booked more than 70 flights for women traveling from other states to work in the brothels, according to the indictment.
According to the indictment, Frey operated the businesses using straw companies with the names Crown Venture Capitol, Inc., and Crown Venture Management, Ltd., the press release reported.
During 2007 and 2008, on multiple occasions, women working at the businesses offered to provide sex acts to undercover officers and informants in exchange for cash, according to the press release.
Every couple of weeks Frey would fly to Seattle from California or Nevada to collect thousands of dollars in cash from Nguyen and others employed as managers at the spa businesses, according to the indictment, as reported in the press release.
Tuesday, search warrants were served at the businesses, as well as residences in Kent and Renton, and at a boat, the Island Girl, moored at the Westlake Marina on Lake Union in Seattle. Those arrested on federal charges were to appear in U.S. District Court on Tuesday.
“The organizers of this illegal network view people as nothing more than currency,” said Leigh Winchell, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Office of Investigations in Seattle, in the press release.
“ICE will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to investigate crimes like these and ensure that the actions of those who choose to exploit others for profit do not go unchecked or unpunished,” Winchell said.
The charge of conspiracy to transport individuals in furtherance of prostitution is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to the press release. The charge of money laundering conspiracy is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.
The case is being investigated by the Seattle Police Department, the King County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation.