A 43-count federal indictment and Valentines Day raid have shuttered a Macon massage parlor after more than four years of undercover investigation.
Local and federal authorities served a search warrant at Sedona Tanning Salon, 1922 Riverside Drive, at about 9 p.m. Thursday, said Michael Moore, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia. Federal grand jurors indicted the business owner and two other women Friday morning, he said.
Owner Hyeon Joo Chae, who also is known as Huyn Joo Choi, was arrested by U.S. marshals and was being held at the Bibb County jail without bail Friday, according to jail records.
Chae, 44, of Atlanta; Kye Wol Kim Dyreson, 72; and Ki Un Love Jordan, 49, are charged with conspiracy to use an interstate facility to promote prostitution and conspiracy to commit money laundering, according to the indictment.
Chae and Dyreson additionally are charged with use of an interstate facility to promote, manage and carry on prostitution. Chae also is charged with money laundering and failure to file a factual statement about an alien, according to the indictment.
The investigation was launched in 2008 following a string of raids at Macon and Bibb County massage parlors, said Macon police Maj. Charles Stone. Arrests were made at the then-Soft Hands Massage & Spa during the raids.
Since then, authorities have been conducting surveillance and undercover operations at Sedona, which was known as Soft Hands Massage & Spa until 2010, Moore said.
During the investigation, authorities didnt find any evidence of human trafficking at the business, he said.
Using other statutes, prosecutors have built a case. None of the prostitutes from the business were indicted.
When it comes to cleaning up the mess, it doesnt matter which broom we use. We just want to make sure that we sweep these places out of business, Moore said.
According to the indictment:
Chae bought the building on Riverside Drive, just south of Ingleside Drive, in June 2007 to provide a place for prostitutes to perform massages and sexual services for male customers in exchange for money.
In May 2009, Chae created a corporate entity, Hong Ik Inc., and served as the companys chief executive officer and chief financial officer. The company also was indicted by the grand jury Friday.
Dyreson acted as the manager, greeting customers, accepting their payments, preparing bank deposits and directing prostitutes activities.
Jordan helped Chae and Dyreson deposit the money into bank accounts controlled by Chae.
The business operated seven days a week and was open 12 to 17 hours each day.
Prostitutes worked as independent contractors, offering massages, showers and sex acts for a fee. Some of the prostitutes were citizens of South Korea.
The business accepted cash and credit cards as payment for services.
It charged a house fee of up to $65 and an additional fee for prostitution services that was negotiated between customers and prostitutes.
Bank deposits, consisting of payment for prostitution services, were in excess of $600,000.
Chae paid nearly $30,000 for advertising to promote the business.
As part of the prosecution, the U.S. Attorneys Office is seizing Chaes Atlanta condominium.
We are not (just) going to prosecute the people who commit the crime, we are not going to let them profit from it, Moore said.
Some of the charges listed in the indictment carry maximum penalties of up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine, Moore said.
The FBI, Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement also participated in the investigation.
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.