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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Washington

Friday, February 22, 2013

Korean ‘Salon’ Operator Sentenced to Prison for Immigration Fraud Conspiracies

“Madam” Recruited Korean Nationals To Work At Nightclub And As Prostitutes

            A Korean National who fraudulently gained U.S. Citizenship in a fake marriage, was sentenced today to two years in prison and three years of supervised release for Conspiracy to Commit Immigration Fraud, Conspiracy to Harbor, Transport, and Induce Illegal Aliens and Attempt to Commit Immigration Fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.  MIYOUNG ROBERTS, 42, of Auburn, Washington, operated the Blue Moon bar in Federal Way.  In her supervisory role, ROBERTS arranged for more than two dozen Korean women to travel to and around the U.S. to work at various clubs, and she counseled them on how to avoid detection by immigration authorities.  At sentencing U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton stated that ROBERTS’ conduct was “degrading” and “shameful.”

Between 2009 and 2012, ROBERTS worked first as an ‘Assistant Madam’ and later a ‘Madam,’ at the Blue Moon, hiring the women who served as “bar girls” and arranging their transportation from Korea to the U.S.  ROBERTS also arranged apartments for the women to live in and supervised some of the women’s prostitution activities.  ROBERTS herself entered into a fraudulent marriage to obtain a green card in the U.S. and attempted to arrange a fraudulent marriage for another co-conspirator.  The groom she recruited was actually an agent working undercover on the case.

ROBERTS did not limit her activities to the areas of King and Pierce Counties, but was prominent in supplying women to similar Korean bar businesses across the country.  “The defendant was involved in criminal activity for over three years, and even when not employed at the Blue Moon, she was actively recruiting and coordinating the travel of illegal Korean National women to work at various room salon [bar] businesses in New York, New Jersey, Texas, and Colorado.  ….Through such recruitment, the defendant was able to secure a job for herself at any one of these room salons around the country, and earned a reputation for being a successful room salon madam.  ….Through her work as a room salon madam, the defendant induced numerous Korean women to unlawfully enter and stay in the United States to work at various room salons in different cities,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo.

The owner of the Blue Moon salon, Chang Kim, will be sentenced next month. 

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB), the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) and the FBI.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Ye-Ting Woo and Matthew Thomas.

Updated March 24, 2015