The owners of numerous Chicagoland massage parlors, including ones in Lake County, have been arrested and charged with money laundering and promoting prostitution following an undercover investigation.
Yang Yuan, 37, of Aurora; Jianwei Zou, 62, of Naperville; and Guilan Sun, 64, of Aurora, have each been charged with six counts of money laundering and three counts of promoting prostitution.
Money laundering is a Class 1 felony punishable by 4-15 years in prison and promoting prostitution is a Class 4 felony punishable by 1-3 years in prison.
Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul announced the arrests of the three subjects on Thursday.
Yuan, Zou and Sun own or operate eight massage parlors throughout Cook, DuPage, Lake and Will Counties.
The charges are the result of a three-year investigation by several state and federal law enforcement agencies, including Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Secret Service, Illinois State Police and the Naperville Police Department.
The Naperville Police Department conducted several undercover operations at the businesses where officers were solicited for sexual acts, Raoul said.
The operation was prompted after police discovered “suspicious online ads” connected to the massage parlors, which are located in Naperville, Buffalo Grove, Elmhurst, Lake Zurich, Roselle and Wheeling.
“This was a long and thorough investigation that was conducted by the Naperville Police Department involving the cooperation of many agencies in the process,” Naperville Police Chief Jason Arres said.
“I would like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication that was demonstrated by our Investigations Division in this case that led to these alleged offenders being charged,” Arres said.
Yuan, Zou and Sun pleaded not guilty at their arraignment hearing recently and they are scheduled to appear in court again on August 17.
“HSI Chicago, along with our law enforcement partners, are dedicated to the eradication of sexual exploitation and money laundering in our community,” said HSI Chicago acting Special Agent in Charge Gabriel Gonzalez.
“While many believe these are victimless crimes, that is not accurate. Not only do the individuals being exploited suffer, but the community as a whole are endangered by the many associated crimes this type of illegal activity brings to their neighborhoods,” Gonzalez said.