Hunterdon County Man Sentenced to 33 Months in Prison for Producing Phony Massage Therapy Training Certificates for Prostitution Businesses
TRENTON, N.J. – A Hunterdon County, New Jersey, man was sentenced today to 33 months in prison for producing and selling fraudulent massage therapy training certificates for use in various New Jersey massage parlors that engaged in prostitution, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.
Naresh Rane, 68, of Tewksbury, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson to Count 1 of an indictment charging him with knowingly and intentionally using and causing the use of facilities in interstate commerce to promote, manage, establish, carry on, and facilitate the business of prostitution in violation of New Jersey law. U.S. District Judge Zahid N. Quraishi imposed the sentence today in Trenton federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Rane owned and operated Axiom Healthcare Academy, which purported to provide classes in massage therapy training. Rane held himself out as a businessman who, for a fee that ranged from $1,000 to $2,600, could provide massage therapy training certificates to anyone who wished to obtain a massage license without the required training. Rane was also willing to provide phony transcripts listing classes and grades.
Between November 2013 and March 2014, Rane provided 10 fraudulent massage therapy training certificates and transcripts to a former Westwood, New Jersey, councilman who then gave them to prostitutes working in different massage parlors located in Union, Passaic, Hudson and Middlesex counties. Rane admitted today that he knew the documents he was producing and selling were used to disguise prostitution activities as legitimate massage services.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Quraishi sentenced Rane to three years of supervised release.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jesse Levine in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.
The government is represented by Senior Litigation Counsel Mark J. McCarren of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.