OGDEN — A man accused of running a prostitution business using several massage parlors as a front now faces several criminal charges.
Changfeng Lin, 35, of Salt Lake City, was charged June 12 in Ogden's 2nd District Court with engaging in a pattern of unlawful activity, a second-degree felony, money laundering, a second-degree felony, and three counts of exploiting a prostitute, a third-degree felony.
Lin is accused of operating at least six massage parlors in Salt Lake, Davis and Weber counties where women were paid to perform sex acts on customers.
When Lin was arrested on June 9, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes stated, "From our understanding, it is the largest collective human trafficking sting in the state." However, Lin does not face any charges under Utah's human trafficking statute.
According to charging documents, Lin and his wife advertised their businesses on Backpage.com. Starting in July of 2014, the Utah Attorney General's Secure Strike Force began tracking Lin. Investigators observed him drive between several different massage parlors on any given day, "transporting women and delivering materials to and from the massage businesses and several residential apartments located within the same counties as the massage businesses," the charges state.
"A total of nine women of Chinese origin were located in the six businesses and four apartments that are affiliated with the defendant and his associates," the charges state. "The defendant stated that if business lags at one location he transports the woman from that location to another one where business is better. He stated that he advertises for massage workers online and in Asian newspapers in California to recruit workers."
The women lived on mattresses in unfurnished apartments, according to investigators who say they also discovered that "thousands of dollars (were) located in their luggage, purses and personal effects."
On June 9, when agents executed search warrants on 11 businesses, three residences and four cars along the Wasatch Front, they "located a large amount of U.S. currency and unredeemed money orders" linked to Lin, according to court records.
An initial appearance in court is scheduled for July 7.