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Owner of massage parlors charged – Albuquerque Journal

Authorities accused a California woman of running several illicit massage parlors around New Mexico. One of the parlors is pictured in 2018 at a shopping center in Northeast Albuquerque. (Google Maps)

Copyright © 2022 A…….

Authorities accused a California woman of running several illicit massage parlors around New Mexico. One of the parlors is pictured in 2018 at a shopping center in Northeast Albuquerque. (Google Maps)

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

A California woman is accused of running a prostitution ring through several Asian massage parlors across New Mexico that agents contend raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years.

Lily Bai is charged with three counts each of interstate and foreign travel in aid of racketeering enterprises and money laundering related to her businesses in Farmington, Las Cruces, Silver City and Albuquerque.

The allegations are contained in a federal search warrant affidavit unsealed this week.

The 40-year-old, who lives in Corona, California, was arrested March 29 by the U.S. Marshals Service. Her attorney did not respond to a request for comment.

Through a yearslong investigation, federal and local authorities say they learned Bai ran eight illicit massage businesses across the state and had earned almost $800,000 since 2014.

The IRS, Homeland Security Investigations and Albuquerque police Vice Unit also discovered that the “vast majority” of Asian massage parlors in Albuquerque “operate as houses of prostitution,” according to the search warrant affidavit.

Authorities say the parlors are distinct from legitimate businesses, often using curtains to cover storefronts, and featuring dimmed red or purple lighting and scantily-clad masseuses who accept payment only up front and work late into the night.

The search warrant affidavit alleges the workers are rarely licensed massage therapists and that they are coerced into performing sex acts to earn money “for their basic living expenses.” Many of the parlors are advertised on such sites as www.rubmaps.cn, where authorities found a review for Dian Dian Massage in Las Cruces and owned by Bai that touted how the masseuse “delivered the goods” and allowed him to have his hands “wandering over her clothes.”

“If you can’t handle a sketchy parlor, then don’t go here,” the reviewer wrote.

Between 2017 and 2022, undercover officers were offered sex acts at least eight times at Bai’s parlors, according to the affidavit.

In November and March, authorities say undercover HSI agents visited two Las Cruces parlors where workers offered sex acts that ranged in price from $40 to $140, but the pair “declined the offers – and exited the business.”

Court records state that, in 2018, an undercover officer with the Albuquerque Police Department Vice Unit reached out to Bai to inquire about buying one of her massage parlors, according to court records. The agent met her several times and she explained the business.

Bai allegedly told the agent customers pay $40 or $60 up front, which goes to her, …….

Source: https://www.abqjournal.com/2491438/woman-accused-of-running-illicit-nm-massage-parlors.html

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