Owner of D.C.-Based Online Prostitution Enterprise Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering, Racketeering Offenses
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Otasowie Christopher Asuen, 26, of Washington, D.C., aka “Gene” or “Chris,” pled guilty yesterday to a racketeering offense and conspiring to launder the proceeds of his online prostitution enterprise that employed more than 50 prostitutes and generated more than $1.8 million from servicing clients in the Washington, D.C., area. Asuen is the fifth defendant to plead guilty in this organized crime investigation.
Neil H. MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; James W. McJunkin, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; and J. Thomas Manger, Montgomery County Chief of Police, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by United States District Judge Liam O’Grady.
“Mr. Asuen and others recruited women from throughout the U.S. and Canada to work for them as prostitutes and laundered the millions they earned from this illicit activity,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “The convictions we’ve secured to date have helped dismantle a criminal organization that generated large profits in a very short time period.”
“This large-scale prostitution enterprise generated more than a million dollars in illegal revenue that was used to purchase expensive cars, watches and jewelry,” said Assistant Director in Charge McJunkin. “I commend the investigative work of the FBI agents and officers from Montgomery County Police Department, which resulted in this guilty plea.”
Asuen pled guilty to conspiring to commit money laundering, which carries a maximum of 20 years in prison, and conspiring to travel and use interstate facilities in aid of a racketeering enterprise, which carries a maximum of five years in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 31, 2012, before United States District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema.
According to court documents, since 2009, Asuen has owned an online prostitution business – first named Prime DC and later DMV INDYS – that used Craigslist and Backpage to recruit prostitutes from throughout the United States to work in the Washington, D.C., area. He paid the travel and hotel costs and received 40 percent of the women’s hourly rate; the women would keep 60 percent. Once the prostitute arrived at the pre-arranged hotel, he or an associate would take their photograph and post it – along with details about the prostitutes, the services they would perform, and their rate – on the business’s website to solicit clients.
Asuen also partnered with Kuraye Tamunoibi Akuiyibo, 33, of Washington, D.C., who operated another D.C.-based online prostitution enterprise called Classy DC Escorts. The two men and their employees shared information about their clientele, prostitutes, and the services of various money collectors. Akuiyibo admitted that he assaulted an employee whom he believed was going to open a rival prostitution business and threatened to hurt a prostitute whom he thought had cheated him of money.
Since 2009, Asuen employed more than 50 prostitutes and generated more than $1.8 million in gross revenue. Akuiyibo employed more than 100 prostitutes from throughout the United States and Canada and generated more than $1.6 million. Court records state that both men laundered the proceeds from their prostitution enterprises through bank accounts and purchases, including luxury items such as cars, watches, and jewelry.
On May 16, 2012, Akuiyibo pled guilty to the same charges as Asuen, along with an additional charge of violent crime in aid of racketeering, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 3, 2012. Three additional individuals associated with his enterprise – two schedulers and an associate who assisted in laundering the proceeds – have also pled guilty to related offenses.
This investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Washington Field Office and the Montgomery County Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kimberly R. Pedersen and Patricia Haynes are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on https://pcl.uscourts.gov.
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