Bergen County Man Admits Producing And Selling Fraudulent Massage Therapy Training Certificates To Facilitate Prostitution At New Jersey Massage Parlors
NEWARK, N.J. – A Bergen County man today admitted selling fraudulent massage therapy training certificates to workers at various massage parlors in order to facilitate prostitution activities at those locations, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Robert W. Miller, 67, of Westwood, N.J., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Claire C. Cecchi to an information charging him with using facilities in interstate commerce to promote prostitution, and performing an act to promote, manage, establish, carry on and facilitate that unlawful activity.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Miller served as a Westwood councilman for approximately seven years prior to his resignation in 2015, and previously served as a councilman in the Village of Ridgewood, New Jersey, from 1996 to 1998. He owned and operated RWM Associates Inc., which purported to provide personnel department services for small and medium-sized businesses. Miller held himself out as a businessman who, for a fee of $500 to $2,500, could provide a massage therapy training certificate to anyone who wished to obtain a massage license with the State of New Jersey without receiving the required training. He also offered to provide a transcript listing the classes purportedly taken and the grades received by customers willing to pay for the fraudulent massage training certificate.
Between January 1997 and August 2013, Miller provided at least 50 fraudulent massage therapy training certificates to 25 different massage parlors located in Union, Passaic, Hudson and Middlesex counties. He admitted he knew that many of the massage parlors were being operated as fronts for prostitution and that the phony documents allowed the workers to continue to engage in prostitution activities under the guise of providing legitimate massage services. Miller also used A.R.M. Enterprises L.L.C., a separate company which he owned, to place advertisements in newspapers for massage parlors using discrete wording which signaled that the massage parlor was also a prostitution business.
The charge to which Miller pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. As part of his plea agreement, defendant Miller will forfeit $95,926, consisting of $25,826 seized from his residence in August of 2013 as well as an additional $70,100 which he provided to the FBI in December of 2014, which Miller acknowledged represented property derived from or traceable to his unlawful activity. Sentencing is scheduled for May 19, 2016.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Andrew Campi in Newark, and investigators with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark J. McCarren of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.
Defense counsel: Linda Foster Esq. Assistant Federal Public Defender, Newark