Owner of Notorious 'Massage' Establishment Sentenced
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Susan Lee Gross, aka Ju Me Lee Gross, 48, of Trinidad, Colo., was sentenced today to 30 months in prison, followed by two years of supervised release, for transporting women to work as prostitutes at her Annandale-based massage parlor and laundering the proceeds from that illegal activity. Gross also agreed to forfeit $248,409.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, John P. Torres, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Washington, D.C.; Thomas J. Kelly, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation’s (IRS-CI) Washington, D.C., Field Office; and Michael Monroe, Special Agent in Charge of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service’s (NCIS) Washington, D.C., Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by United States District Judge Claude M. Hilton.
“Ms. Gross became rich by exploiting Korean women and then hiding her illicit gains from the government,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “Houses of prostitution like Peach Therapy are a blight on the community. This case is a result of an ongoing investigation into the sale of sexual services at northern Virginia massage parlors as part of my office’s crackdown on sex trafficking in the region.”
“Ms. Gross, through her business Peach Therapy, provided sexual services under the guise of operating a massage parlor” stated HSI SAC Torres, “HSI will work with our law enforcement partners to investigate those who seek to profit by providing services through illegal means.”
“Individuals such as Ms. Gross, who use structuring and money laundering to conceal the true source of their money run the risk of federal prosecution and imprisonment,” said IRS SAC Kelly. “IRS Criminal Investigation is committed to unraveling money laundering schemes and assisting our law enforcement partners to ensure that the type of criminal conduct engaged in by Ms. Gross is not ignored. Today’s sentence is a reminder to criminals that money laundering schemes will be vigorously investigated and prosecuted.”
Gross pleaded guilty on Oct. 25, 2012, to conspiring to transport a person for purposes of prostitution and conspiring to commit money laundering.
According to court documents, Gross owned and operated Peach Therapy, which was advertised as a massage parlor but was merely a front for prostitution. Customers obtained sexual services from Gross and the women she employed at Peach Therapy. Prices for various sex acts varied, but some women earned $800 per day in cash.
Gross advertised the various sex acts performed at Peach Therapy erotic websites, and she recruited women to travel from such places as Georgia, North Carolina, New York and New Jersey to ensure the business was fully staffed and operational. All of the women Gross recruited were originally from Korea, some of them were unlawfully present in the United States, and most were uneducated and lacked language and employment skills. Gross used security cameras at Peach Therapy and trained the women she employed to yell if they saw the police approaching the business. Gross laundered the profits generated by Peach Therapy to hide the source and nature of the wealth she amassed through her illicit activities.
On Feb. 14, 2013, Gross’s co-conspirator, Jin Seob Oh, was sentenced to 24 months of imprisonment for his role in the offenses. Oh drove many of the women to and from Peach Therapy and assisted in moving the prostitution proceeds.
This case was investigated by HSI, which participates in the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force, and IRS-CI and NCIS. They were assisted in the investigation by the Fairfax County Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Michael J. Frank prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.
Founded in 2004, the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force is a collaboration of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies – along with nongovernmental organizations – dedicated to combating human trafficking and related crimes.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.