Massage parlor tip came from local bank
A local bank became leery after two people linked to a business advertising erotic massages — customers who’d declared in bank records their occupations to be “self-employed in massage industry” and “unemployed truck driver” — had deposited more than $65,000 in cash including several four-figure installments over a year, according to federal court records.
Bank of the West on Nov. 15, 2013, went to the FBI with concerns about the accounts of Balanced Healing, controlled by Feng Mei Dai, 49, and Wei Li, 51. Their massage business, at the time located on F Road, was right across the street from the Bank of the West Clifton branch, 3202 F Road.
The bank reported that between Nov. 1, 2012, and Nov. 6, 2013, $65,900 in cash was deposited at the Clifton branch, according to a federal arrest warrant. At least 50 deposits ranged from $400 to $3,000, in individual installments.
Bank staff did online research and learned Balanced Healing advertises erotic full-body massages, the warrant said. They surmised the depositers were getting a windfall from illegal activity.
The bank had previously provided information in April 2010 for the same client, but using the name “Asian Body Massage,” in the amount of $20,000 for “cash refining activity.”
Dai was listed under state business records as the owner of Balanced Healing Massage and Spa, now at 3198 F Road, Suite 106. The business was one of four locations targeted with search warrants Tuesday by federal and state authorities as part of a prostitution, and possible human trafficking, investigation.
Li was arrested by the FBI after Tuesday’s raid and advised Wednesday at the Wayne N. Aspinall Federal Building on a single charge of false use of a Social Security number.
According to Li’s arrest warrant, authorities learned in April that Li had used a fraudulent Social Security number to open the bank account at Bank of the West. Li, who is being held without bond, is scheduled back in court today for a bond hearing.
All totaled, through March of this year, $90,300 in cash was deposited in the Balanced Healing account by either Dai or Li, according to Li’s warrant.
Dai, meanwhile, told federal agents she runs day-to-day operations at Balanced Healing and explained her business this way:
“Feng advised customer enters into the business and pays for the $60 massage,” an arrest affidavit reads. “Feng advised she keeps $40 and gives the person completing the massage $20. Feng also stated whoever does the massage also gets to keep any additional monies for services provided to include but not limited to ‘hand jobs.’ ”
Deputies located a “large amount of money,” the affidavit said.
Tuesday’s sting that led to Feng’s arrest included an undercover officer brought in from the Lakewood Police Department, the affidavit said. The officer was wearing a wire and paid $60 for a massage, while colleagues listened in on the live transmission.
“During the course of the massage the female subject offered to perform a ‘hand job,’ for an additional tip,” the affidavit said. The detective uttered a “signal” — the code word isn’t specified — and authorities within seconds were at the business.
Dai was arrested and released on a $10,000 personal recognizance bond following her advisement Wednesday on suspicion of pimping, money laundering and keeping a place of prostitution.