A mother and daughter charged with running a prostitution business out of several Frederick-area massage parlors earlier this year were paying unlicensed employees under the table, according to charging documents.
Enqui Huang, 34, and her mother, Yuehua Huang, 59, were charged via summons Oct. 13 with three counts of operating a prostitution business and general prostitution. Charging documents made available Wednesday in Frederick County District Court indicate the duo did not list any employees despite ledgers, appointment books and bank account information seized from two businesses and an apartment in search warrants served on Sept. 28.
Enqui was listed as the owner and Yuehua was identified as the registered agent of the Autumn Breeze Foot Spa and the Serenity Foot Spa, both in Frederick, but neither woman listed any current employment or wages at the time the summonses were issued against them, the documents state.
Tips from concerned residents led sheriff’s deputies to begin staking out the businesses in March. A Homeland Security analyst also told investigators that Enqui Huang’s phone number was linked to “several investigations involving massage parlors, prostitution and human trafficking,” according to the documents.
Investigators observing the spas noted that employees appeared to be living at the businesses. Further evidence remained under investigation as of Thursday that immigration or human trafficking offenses might also be taking place at the businesses, the documents state.
Sgt. Jason Deater, a supervisor with the sheriff’s office’s vice and narcotics section, could not comment on whether detectives plan to file additional criminal charges against either Enqui or Yuehua Huang as of Thursday.
“The Huangs were appropriately charged with the offenses regarding operating a business of prostitution,” Deater wrote in an email statement responding to The Frederick News-Post‘s questions Thursday.
David Moyse, Enqui Huang’s attorney, reiterated comments made previously to The Frederick News-Post that his client is innocent of all charges. Moyse also declined to address allegations made in the charging documents that his client did not list any employees or wages, saying his client was not charged with anything related to her business practices.
Howard R. Cheris, listed as Yuehua Huang’s attorney, could not be reached for comment on Thursday.
Beginning on July 7, sheriff’s deputies began following male patrons leaving the businesses and pulling them over for traffic violations, the documents state.
At this stage of the investigation, a 60-year-old man and a 35-year-old man were pulled over and interviewed after they were seen leaving the Autumn Breeze Spa and the Serenity Foot Spa, respectively, according to the documents. Both men agreed to talk to deputies.
The 60-year-old man said he paid $60 for a massage and another $60 “tip” for a sexual favor from an employee at Autumn Breeze Spa. The 35-year-old man also told deputies that he paid for a sex act after his massage at the Serenity spa, the documents state.
“Due to the fact they were interviewed after leaving the establishment they were not charged,” Deater said of the men interviewed by detectives. “The information provided by those interviewed was used to establish probable cause for the subsequent search warrants.”
Moyse, speaking on behalf of Enqui Huang, did not explicitly deny the claims made by either of the men, only that his client had no knowledge of such activity taking place at the parlors.
“Assuming that is what occurred, [Enqui Huang] had no knowledge that that was taking place,” he said when asked specifically about the assertions leveled against his client in the charging documents.
Search warrants were served on both spas and an apartment belonging to Enqui and Yuehua Huang in the 1400 block of Baker Place in Frederick, the documents state. Further warrants were also served on bank accounts belonging to the Huangs, netting a total of $104,967.34, according to the documents.
A third business, Autumn Moon Spa in the 11300 block of Robinwood Drive in Hagerstown, was also linked to the Huangs, the documents state. Frederick County sheriff’s deputies have maintained “constant contact with authorities in Washington County” regarding that spa, Deater wrote.
After deputies served search warrants at the massage parlors in Frederick on Sept. 28, Bia Xian Wei, 43, and Jian Mei Gao, 46, were charged with state health code violations — specifically, practicing massage therapy without a license, according to the documents.