The former owner of an Annandale, Va., massage parlor admitted in court Thursday that she used her business as a front for a prostitution ring where employees performed sexual services for patrons.
Susan Lee Gross (also known as Ju Mee Lee Gross) pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transport women to engage in prostitution, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
The charges carry a maximum penalty of five years and 20 years in prison, respectively.
Lee Gross admitted to recruiting and transporting women to work at her massage parlor, Peach Therapy, and similar businesses in other states. Many of the workers were originally from South Korea and traveled from New York and New Jersey.
Peach Therapy had about 30 customers daily, with some workers earning around $800 per day, according to a court document.
Customers paid a "house fee" of $60 to $80, plus tips that ranged from $20 to $400. Lee Gross split the house fee with her employees. Each worker, including Lee Gross, kept her own tips crom the customers.
Lee Gross then deposited the funds in several bank accounts and a safe deposit box. As part of her plea agreement, she has agreed to pay a penalty of $248,409.
Investigators say they learned names of customers via several methods, including customer lists kept by the women at Peach Therapy.
Most of the customers interviewed by federal agents were married, and included military personnel, a local pastor and a gynecologist.
The ring was uncovered in a joint investigation by the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, the Department of Homeland Security, the Internal Revenue Service and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
"Crimes of this magnitude are not victimless but rather a blight on any community, harming the citizens within it," said Rick A. Raven, a special agent in the IRS Criminal Investigation unit's local field office.
Lee Gross is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 1, 2013.