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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Hampshire

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Exeter Man Sentenced for Managing Prostitution Business

 

            CONCORD - Ken Duc Ma, 60, of Exeter, was sentenced in federal court to four months in prison for promoting and managing an establishment for the purpose of prostitution, United States Attorney Scott W. Murray announced today.

            According to court documents and statements made in court, from at least March 1, 2015, through November 7, 2017, Ma owned and managed businesses including Qi Natural Healing Massage, LLC, in Plaistow, Oriental Bodyworks, in Exeter, and Johnny’s Massage a/k/a Qi Natural, in Salem. These businesses purported to provide massage services to clients, but also offered sexual services in exchange for money. Beginning in March of 2015, investigators conducted surveillance of the businesses and observed that they were frequented exclusively by male customers. On various occasions, after observing customers leave the businesses, investigators approached the customers and inquired about the services they received. Customers of each of the three businesses reported that they had paid cash in exchange for sexual services.

            Investigators located advertisements for each of the businesses posted on Backpage.com. Advertisements were posted in New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts under the “Massage,” “Body Rubs,” “Adult Entertainment,” “Escorts,” “Dating,” and “Men Seeking Women” subsections of the website. Advertisements included references to sexual activity and had sexually explicit images depicting female workers wearing lingerie and in various states of undress. All of the Backpage.com advertisements were posted and paid for by Ma. 

            On November 7, 2017, investigators executed search warrants at the three businesses and two residences owned by Ma. One of these residences, in Haverhill, Massachusetts, was used by Ma to receive packages and store supplies for his businesses. Pursuant to a search warrant, officers seized approximately 11 boxes of white sheets used to cover massage tables and plastic bags containing 1,092 condoms. They also seized large amounts of cash, most of which was wrapped in newspaper and concealed behind a wall. They also seized a significant amount of cash hidden in the defendant’s primary residence. 

            The defendant previously pleaded guilty on January 3, 2019. His sentence of incarceration will be followed by three years of supervised release. As part of his sentence, Ma will forfeit $186,466 and land and buildings located in Plaistow, New Hampshire, to the government.

            “The defendant in this case profited from illegal conduct that exploited women,” said U.S. Attorney Murray.  “His prison sentence and substantial forfeiture of property should serve as a deterrent to others who would seek to exploit women for economic gain.  I am grateful for the work of the multi-jurisdictional investigative team whose efforts brought this defendant to justice.”

            “Today’s sentencing comes as a result of a well-coordinated federal, state and local law enforcement investigation,” said Peter C. Fitzhugh, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Boston. “HSI would like to thank our partners in the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, the New Hampshire State Police as well as the Exeter, Plaistow, Londonderry, and Salem, New Hampshire Police Departments for their support in investigating this case.”

            “The Diplomatic Security Service is committed to making sure that those who exploit and traffic individuals will face consequences for their criminal actions,” said William B. Gannon, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), Boston Field Office. "We will continue to join with our federal, state, and local partners to combat this serious crime.”

            This matter was investigated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Exeter Police Department, the Plaistow Police Department, the Londonderry Police Department, the Salem Police Department, the New Hampshire State Police, the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, with assistance from the New Hampshire Human Trafficking Collaborative Task Force.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Georgiana L. Konesky.  Assistant United States Attorney Robert Rabuck also assisted with this matter.

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Topic(s): 
Human Trafficking
Component(s): 
Press Release Number: 
19-071
Updated May 14, 2019