Woman sentenced to prison for making bribes to protect illicit Wilmington massage parlor
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A New York woman was sentenced Wednesday to 15 months in prison for making bribe payments to protect her illicit massage parlors in Cary and Wilmington from law enforcement scrutiny in 2020 and 2021.
On March 31st, Xiang Yue Jin pled guilty to the charge. She was also fined $50,000 and ordered to forfeit $90,000.
According to court documents, in August 2020, the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) began an investigation into illicit massage parlors in Durham, Raleigh, and Wilmington, where clients could obtain sexual services.
A source arranged a meeting at which Jin met an HSI agent who was serving in an undercover capacity by posing as a corrupt federal agent. Jin, who owned two illicit massage parlors – one in Cary and one in Wilmington – arranged to pay the undercover agent $2,000 each month to avoid law enforcement scrutiny.
From August 2020 until June 2021, Jin paid a total of $18,000 in bribes to the undercover agent. Jin also asked the undercover agent to perform “checks” at competing businesses to scare away customers and possibly allow her to purchase additional parlors at a reduced price, and even asked the undercover agent to invest in additional parlors with her.
In April and May 2021, investigators conducted surveillance at Jin’s parlors and initiated traffic stops with clients seen entering and leaving the businesses and nearly every customer admitted to receiving sexual services from the masseuses employed by Jin.
On June 16, 2021, with the assistance of numerous law enforcement agencies, HSI led a coordinated takedown across four different federal districts that included the execution of search warrants at eight different massage parlors, multiple residences, and the arrest of six individuals. The takedown included two illicit massage parlors (Cary and Wilmington) owned and operated by Jin, and a Cary apartment Jin leased.
Michael Easley, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Terrence W. Boyle.
The Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations led the investigation, with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Wake County Sheriff’s Office, the Durham County Sheriff’s Office, the Cary Police Department, the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office, the Wilmington Police Department, the Horry County Police Department, the United States Marshals Service, and other state and local investigators.