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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Colorado

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, September 25, 2020

Two Sentenced In Scheme To Fraudulently Obtain Licenses For Massage Therapy

DENVER – United States Attorney Jason R. Dunn announced that two individuals, including a Chinese national, were sentenced for wire fraud in a scheme to falsify education credentials to obtain massage therapy licenses.  The Denver Division of the FBI joined in this announcement. 

Yongbo Shen, a/k/a Kevin Shen, age 49, who is originally from China and currently from Massachusetts, was sentenced to serve 15 months in prison for his role as the leader of the scheme.  Co-defendant Marla Daniels, age 51, of Oklahoma City, was sentenced to serve 3 years of probation, including 8 months of home detention. 

According to court documents, between February 16, 2015, and March 3, 2018, Shen and Daniels fraudulently obtained the questions and answers to the exam that Colorado requires for applicants to become a massage therapist.  With the help of others, Shen then caused the questions and answers to be translated from English to Chinese – essentially creating an unauthorized question and answer key -- or cheat sheet -- for the examination.  As part of the scheme, Shen then distributed the cheat sheet to multiple applicants in exchange for a fee.  This allowed otherwise unqualified applicants to pass the test and provided them with an unfair competitive advantage over other persons taking the test.

Daniels and Shen also created and issued multiple bogus diplomas, which falsely certified that certain applicants for the state license had successfully completed the requisite 500 hours of instruction and training from a massage therapy program and had graduated from the Majestic Massage Therapy school.  As part of the fraud, Shen worked with Daniels to help create and falsify course transcripts and diplomas. 

Shen would submit applications for massage therapy licenses to the State of Colorado Department of Regulatory Affairs on behalf of applicants.   In the course of submitting the applications, Shen falsely certified that the information contained within the applications was true and correct, when in fact, Shen knew the applications contained false information regarding the applicants’ educational qualifications and examination requirements.

“Falsifying credentials, regardless of the industry, is criminal, and those responsible will be held accountable,” said U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn.  “The defendants in this case certified unqualified individuals to practice massage therapy, leaving those who use those services vulnerable.”

“The FBI is committed to protecting consumers from those who seek to falsify licensing processes for personal gain,” said FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider. “We will continue to work collaboratively with our federal, state, and local regulatory and law enforcement partners to identify and hold accountable individuals who exploit our business licensing guidelines at the expense of the American people.”

Daniels and Shen were prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Neff.  The sentence was pronounced by U.S. District Court Judge Robert E. Blackburn on September 16, 2020.  This case was investigated by the FBI Denver Division with substantial assistance from the FBI Kansas City Division, the FBI Oklahoma City Division, the Arvada Police Department, the Colorado State Patrol, the Wheat Ridge Police Department, Lakewood Police Department, Aurora Police Department and the Denver Police Department.  

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado.  Related court documents can be found on PACER.  The defendants case number is 19-cr-263. 

The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice.  Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.

Topic(s): 
Consumer Protection
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Jeff Dorschner Spokesman, Public Affairs Officer U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Colorado 303-454-0243 direct; 303-489-2047 cell
Press Release Number: 
Case number 19-cr-263
Updated September 25, 2020