News and Press Releases

Las Vegas Brothel Operators Sentenced to Prison

October 16, 2008

Las Vegas, Nev. – Two persons who pleaded guilty to operating illegal brothels in Las Vegas and using illegal immigrants as prostitutes have been sentenced to federal prison terms, announced Greg Brower, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.

Jia Hui Keyes, 43, the owner and primary operator of the brothels, was sentenced on Wednesday, October 15, 2008, to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution for back taxes of $92,368. Keyes pleaded guilty in February to conspiracy to operate a brothel involving the movement of women from other states and tax evasion.

Keyes' partner, Christopher Smith, 35, was sentenced on Wednesday, October 15, 2008, to 37 months in prison. Smith pleaded guilty in February to conspiracy to operate a brothel involving the movement of women from other states and possession with the intent to distribute ecstacy.

Keyes and Smith were also ordered to forfeit $826,765. Three real properties used in the brothel operation and purchased with brothel proceeds, and about $60,000 in cash, were seized to satisfy part of the forfeiture.

"As this case demonstrates, it is a federal crime to induce individuals to travel between Nevada and other states for prostitution," said U.S. Attorney Brower. "Anyone involved in this sort of criminal activity may be prosecuted and sent to prison."

Between about 2004 and 2006, Keyes and Smith operated brothels in the Las Vegas area at various locations. The defendants induced illegal aliens and other women to travel to Nevada to work at the brothels as prostitutes. The prostitutes were primarily of Asian descent from Southern California and other areas of the United States. Typically, the women worked 10 to 15 days at one brothel, before being circulated to a new brothel. Three of the brothels were located at 3755 Arville Street, 4008 Calle Mirador, and 3474 Eldon Street, in Las Vegas.

In 2004, Keyes earned approximately $333,182 in income from operating the brothels. Keyes attempted to conceal the income from the IRS by frequently conducting transactions in cash. Keyes also failed to file an individual income tax return for 2004.

Between about September 2006 and April 2007, Smith possessed and sold ecstacy in relation to the brothel operations.

The case was investigated by the FBI, IRS Criminal Investigation, and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Eric Johnson.

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