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Denver, Lakewood massage parlor operators indicted in trafficking, money laundering scheme

Colorado Judicial Center
Posted at 12:54 PM, Apr 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-08 14:54:17-04

DENVER — Three Colorado massage parlor operators have been indicted in a human trafficking, pimping and money laundering scheme, Attorney General Phil Weiser announced with Denver and Jefferson County law enforcement officials Friday.

Hye Kyeung Seo, Sang Hyon Shim and Seon Hee Wolf were indicted for allegedly coercing their employees to engage in sexual activity for money at Jewel Spa in Denver and Pine Therapy, ABC Spa and A Spa in Jefferson County. They’re also accused of using multiple methods to launder the money they gained from the illegal prostitution and trafficking through multiple methods, like going to the casino and making multiple small cash deposits at ATMs in an effort to evade federal transaction reporting requirements.

Seo, Shim and Wolf are charged with the following:

  • Felony racketeering and conspiracy under the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act
  • Conspiracy to commit human trafficking for sexual servitude
  • Pimping
  • Conspiracy to commit pimping
  • Money laundering
  • Conspiracy to commit money laundering
  • Keeping a place of prostitution
  • Pandering

Seo and Shim are also charged with human trafficking for sexual servitude. The crimes are alleged to have occurred from at least January of 2021 until March of this year.

The grand jury indictment was announced during a Friday press conference with Weiser, Denver District Attorney Beth McCann, First Judicial District Attorney Alexis King and Denver Chief of Police Paul Pazen.

McCann said a man had walked into one of the massage parlors and was propositioned to participate in sexual activity for money. He declined but kept speaking to the woman and she began to cry and become emotionally distraught, McCann said. The man then contacted the Denver Police Department.

“It is through collaboration between residents and law enforcement that we can have the greatest impact in fighting human trafficking and other crimes, so our gratitude goes out to the community member whose tip prompted this investigation,” Pazen said.

To report or seek help, Colorado’s Human Trafficking Hotline is a 24/7 hotline and survivor-informed resource created to connect individuals experiencing exploitation, individuals reporting potential human trafficking tips and service providers in search of referral resources with available support services in a safe and anonymous manner. Individuals can also text the Colorado Human Trafficking Hotline between noon and midnight mountain time 720-999-9724.