Seven arrested in connection with prostitution at Troy massage parlor

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published May 8, 2018

File photo by Deb Jacques

TROY — Troy police arrested seven people in connection with alleged prostitution at a massage facility on Wattles Road April 26 after receiving tips from multiple sources that prostitution could be happening at the facility. 

The city has suspended the business license of Red Moon Massage as a result of the charges, said Troy Police Department Sgt. Meghan Lehman. 

According to police, officers visited the business at 6 p.m. April 26 and discovered two employees performing sex acts on two customers. Two employees in the facility were also determined to be unlicensed, police said. 

Earlier in April, Troy police reportedly received several tips from multiple sources that prostitution may be occurring at the facility, and police then launched an investigation.

According to the report, police initially visited the massage facility April 25, finding evidence of unlicensed employees, and they returned April 26 to conduct a complete inspection. 

Homeland Security Investigations assisted the Troy Police Department in the investigation. Troy police requested assistance from HSI after police learned that several of those arrested are foreign nationals and to ensure there would be a thorough investigation of possible ties to human trafficking, according to police. 

A 37-year-old Flushing, New York, resident and a 36-year-old Ann Arbor resident were arraigned on charges of performing a massage without a license. A Fenton woman, 57, was arraigned on charges of prostitution and a massage ordinance violation for unlawful acts. Another woman was arraigned on charges of prostitution, hindering and obstructing police, and a massage ordinance violation for unlawful acts. 

A 20-year-old Sterling Heights man was charged with solicitation of illegal acts. A 44-year-old Hartland man was charged with soliciting illegal acts and hindering and obstructing police. 

All of the suspects were arraigned April 27 in the 52-4 District Court. Their pretrials are set for May 17. 

“The case is still open. More charges are pending,” Lehman said. 

Three other male customers and another female employee were questioned at the scene and were released, according to police. 

In October 2017, the City Council enacted stricter guidelines for massage facilities that took effect Jan. 1. The guidelines include requiring more thorough background checks for employees at massage facilities, requiring that businesses maintain a list of employees and their duties that must be updated within 10 days of a new hire, and requiring that facilities allow police to do random inspections during regular business hours to ensure compliance. 

The city may suspend licenses for unlawful acts and for facilities that refuse to let city officials inside for inspection. 

When the Troy Times contacted the facility May 4, a woman who answered said, “Police need to apologize. They made a mistake,” but a manager could not be reached for comment on the matter.  

Troy City Clerk Aileen Dickson said the owners of Red Moon Massage plan to appeal the revocation of the license. A due process hearing in front of the Troy City Council is scheduled for May 21. The council may revoke, reinstate or continue the suspension of the massage license, similar to liquor or smoking ordinance violations.  

Dov Lustig, attorney for Red Moon Massage, could not be reached for comment.