Ex-San Diego police officer and three co-defendants plead guilty to multiple crimes over years of running an illegal massage business | OPA

Ex-San Diego police officer and three co-defendants plead guilty to multiple crimes over years of running an illegal massage business | OPA
Ex-San Diego police officer and three co-defendants plead guilty to multiple crimes over years of running an illegal massage business | OPA

A former San Diego Police Department deputy detective and his co-defendant today separately pleaded guilty today to their connection to running five illegal massage businesses in California and Arizona that engaged in commercial sex for years by exploiting women under the guise of providing therapeutic sex. And profit. Massage service.

Peter Griffin, 78, Kyung Sook Hernandez, 58, Yu Hong Tan, 56, and Yoo Jin Ott, 46, who left the department in 2002, own and operate Genie Oriental Spa, Felicita Spa, Blue Green Spa, according to court documents , Maple Spa and Massage W Spa in the greater San Diego area and Tempe, Arizona, between 2013 and August 2022. The criminal schemes included merging their businesses with state agencies, managing the finances of the businesses, promoting commercial sex services online, recruiting and employing women to perform commercial sex services in the businesses, and obtaining financial benefits from the illicit businesses. Defendants leased multiple commercial properties for storefronts, leased and purchased residential properties for employee housing, and obtained credit card processing equipment to operate an illegal massage business.

Griffin previously served as a detective on the San Diego Police Department’s Deputy Operations Unit, which was tasked with taking down businesses he operated and promoted for personal gain. Throughout the program, Griffin used the experience and skills he gained as a deputy detective — and, in at least one instance, his badge — to help businesses evade law enforcement, thwart regulatory inspections, investigations, and any officials taking action against businesses. Act, withhold evidence, and maintain legality.On another occasion, Griffin told an employee he had been a police officer and instructed her not to “open the [her] Mouth” about her work in the illegal massage business. Griffin also used resources he obtained through his private investigator license to obtain information about clients and employees on behalf of the illegal massage business. During the scheme, defendants encouraged and expected employees to provided commercial sexual services internally and relied on Griffin’s law enforcement background to help cover up the crime. When an employee initially refused to provide commercial sexual services, one of the defendants directed her to “leave [her] Chinese morality” to “make customers happy”.

“Defendant — a former deputy detective who was sworn to uphold our laws — knows better than most that illegal massage businesses brutally profit by exploiting women for commercial sex,” said Assistant Attorney General Craig of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Christine Clark said. “We are committed to prosecuting the owners of these illegal businesses and exposing places where sexual exploitation and trafficking persists.”

“Peter Griffin has abused the expertise he gained as a deputy detective and the respect his badge brings – all to ensure his ‘massage parlor’ is kept under wraps operating for personal financial gain,” Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. . Polite, Jr., Criminal Division, Department of Justice. “The guilty pleas of Griffin and his co-defendants underscore the Department of Justice’s commitment to holding accountable those who profit from crime, especially crimes that involve exploiting vulnerable groups and abusing the community’s trust in law enforcement. Without our This request was not possible because of the innovative and collaborative efforts of partners in federal and local law enforcement, the Human Trafficking Prosecutions Division, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California.”

“This criminal scheme involved an illegal enterprise that exploited a vulnerable population,” said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California Randy Grossman. “We are committed to prosecuting crimes that affect not only the employees of these illegal businesses, but the safety of the communities in which they operate.”

“By abusing his power and knowledge, Griffin betrayed his commitment to uphold our laws and protect members of our community,” said John King, acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s San Diego field office. “We appreciate the cooperation of our federal, state and local partners to ensure justice for Griffin and his co-conspirators. Those who negligently put money over people have no place in our communities ground.”

Griffin pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Interstate Travel Assistance Racketeer Act (ITAR), using an interstate commerce facility to facilitate and facilitate a business involving prostitution, wire fraud conspiracy and money laundering, for which he faces a fine of up to 30 years in prison. Hernandez, Tan and Ott, who managed different illegal massage businesses in Griffin’s network, all pleaded guilty to wrongful conviction, which carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison.

The announcement was made by Assistant Attorney General Clarke, Assistant Attorney General Polite, U.S. Attorney Grossman and Special Agent Plantz.

The investigation was led by Homeland Security Investigations, the IRS Criminal Investigative Service and the San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force, a regional, multi-agency task force led by the California Department of Justice dedicated to supporting survivors and holding traffickers to account. responsibility. The task force is made up of numerous federal, state and local agencies and the Southwest Border High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Zone Program. The investigation is also supported by the FBI, San Diego Police Department, San Diego Sheriff’s Office, Escondido Police Department, San Diego District Attorney’s Office and Tempe, Arizona Police Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jill Straha of the Southern District of California, trial attorney Kelly Campbell of the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section, and trial attorney Leah of the Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecutions Unit are prosecuting the case.

Anyone with information about human trafficking should report it to the National Human Trafficking Hotline toll-free at 1-888-373-7888, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For more information on human trafficking, visit www.humantraffickinghotline.org.

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