More than 10 Queens residents, many hailing from the Northeast, were charged by the state attorney general in a widespread prostitution operation that used an advertising company and money laundering to pimp out trafficked women and elude authorities, the state attorney general said last week.
Flushing residents Wei “William” or “Andy” Qu, Jian Hui “James” or “Bill” Hui Niu, Bayside’s Ying “Lily” Li, Jay King of Whitestone and Woosub Kim of Fresh Meadows were the alleged ringleaders of various prostitution outfits, according to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. They advertised their services in various media publications by using New Jersey-based company Somad Enterprises.
The head of the company, Milagros Katz of New Jersey, along with a total of 20 people were hit with an enterprise corruption charge. Various other charges handed down included money laundering, falsifying business records, promoting prostitution and narcotics possession and sales, the AG said. Each of the defendants faces up to 8 1/3 to 25 years in prison if convicted, according to the AG.
“This investigation led to the arrests of multiple individuals who were part of a criminal enterprise that made millions of dollars by profiting off the exploitation of women,” Schneiderman said. “With law enforcement partners like Police Commissioner [Ray] Kelly and the investigators at the NYPD and our other law enforcement partners we will continue to root out criminal networks like this prostitution and narcotics ring. The message we are sending is clear: These crimes will not be tolerated in the state of New York.”
In the process of making multiple arrests Nov. 20, law enforcement officials rescued two trafficked women, according to the AG.
The prostitution rings were more like arms extending outward from Somad Enterprises, the AG said.
Somad received more than $3 million from these arms over a roughly 2 1/2-year period to take out ads in various tri-state publications. The illegal outfits appeared on Somad’s books as cleaning, antique or party planning companies in an attempt to pass off the money as coming from legitimate businesses, a process known as mone laundering, the AG said.
Tracing the money outward from Somad, the AG found that each arm, run by a ringleader, provided bookers who arranged meetings in either a john’s home or at a hotel, and drivers to transport the prostituted women, Schneiderman said. In some cases, the groups would also sell narcotics to the johns via their prostitutes.
For example, David Mendelowitz, a former guidance counselor and dean of students at Scarsdale High School in Westchester County, is accused of both soliciting a prostitute and purchasing crack cocaine through one of the operations, according to Schneiderman.
Others charged in the crime were Sun T. Fink, Shi In Kang, Renshung Kang and Jacob Kim of Flushing; Christopher Fairbairn of Forest Hills; Woo Yang of Oakland Gardens; and Melanie Reyes of Jamaica.
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4566.
©2012 Community News Group
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