Massage facility accused of alleged prostitution closes

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published January 30, 2018

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CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Clinton Township officials recently revealed that another massage-based facility in the community closed after allegedly being tied to prostitution rings.

On Nov. 7, 2017, members of the Clinton Township Police Department’s Special Investigations Unit conducted a sting operation on Healthy Spa, 40120 Hayes Road. It had opened several months earlier in June.

According to the police report, one of the officers was issued $125 in prerecorded currency and entered the facility in an undercover capacity. The officer said he was greeted by a woman, who possessed a New York state license.

After using $80 of the currency to pay for a one-hour massage, it was soon determined that the woman was going beyond the usual massage and allegedly engaging in lewd acts that could be attributed to prostitution.

The undercover officer reportedly told her he had to use the bathroom, at which point he texted Sgt. Duane Bush and reported his findings. Bush then reportedly entered the business. The $80 of prerecorded currency was allegedly found among $917 inside a red zippered pouch in the business’s office.

Photographs were taken of the woman’s ID, as well as the business’s license. The $917 in cash was seized as probable prostitution proceeds, and a notice of seizure was completed and issued to the business owner. The woman was released at the scene pending the issuance of a warrant.

Clinton Township Clerk Kim Meltzer said Jan. 24 that Healthy Spa has been closed since the sting operation. It’s the fourth township business that has been busted in relation to possible links to prostitution and human trafficking. The others were Sunny Skies, 37150 Utica Road; Lakeside Spa, 40120 Hayes Road; and China Traditional Meridian Health Care Center, 23823 15 Mile Road. Lakeside Spa closed and was replaced by Healthy Spa.

Meltzer said the owner of Healthy Spa was the only recorded owner and employee of the business. The township’s ordinance calls for owners of such establishments to have photo IDs, proper names and addresses of their employees. The employees are asked if they are living with anyone as a result of employment, and they are asked if they owe anybody money.

The Police, Fire and Building departments all perform routine inspections as well.

“(The owner) was told repeatedly when she gets a new employee, she had to notify the township due to our ordinance,” Meltzer said, adding that the owner was offered an interpreter, but allegedly declined that invitation.

The employee possessed no other information and was allegedly never mentioned by the owner. Due to township ordinances, employers can be shut down for not following proper protocol. 

When the owner was questioned by local authorities, she reportedly brought her own interpreter, who allegedly stated that it was important for her to reopen the business. She even filed an appeal with the township’s zoning board at a cost of $300.

Meltzer said the township’s ordinance exists so that in case massage facilities commit violations, they can be shut down. 

“How is a woman (the owner) that pays rent, a single employee, and she’s got the money to do the appeal and pay the taxes?” Meltzer said. “Yet, she has no people coming in. … That tells me there’s most likely illegal activity going on in some form.”

Meltzer and the undercover officer reportedly provided testimony in front of the Clinton Township Zoning Board of Appeals, with Meltzer saying, “(The owner) told me a different story after she came in with that one interpreter.” She also allegedly said she had to go to New York and have a different individual take over the business.

Clinton Township Police Lt. James Stachowski said the employee was charged with a misdemeanor. He suspected that she either went back to New York or China, which is customary in cases like this.