LOS ANGELES – City Attorney Mike Feuer today announced his office has filed a nuisance abatement lawsuit against the operators of a ring of massage parlors that served as fronts for prostitution. Defendants in the lawsuit include the property owners where the businesses operated.
“We allege these massage parlors are epicenters of illicit activity that exploit women and blight communities,” said Feuer. “Today we are taking strong action to put a stop to it.”
“The sexual exploitation of young, vulnerable women for financial gain is a heinous crime that demands justice and accountability,” said Attorney General Harris. “I want to recognize the steadfast commitment of our DOJ Special Agents, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer and Chief Charlie Beck and the Los Angeles Police Department for their work to dismantle sex trafficking rings that devastate lives and endanger the safety of our communities.”
The lawsuit names the business operators of the alleged brothels and illegal massage parlors including: Helen Haihong Huang; Mark Richard Vitatern and MHWI Int’l Inc. The alleged ring leader Helen Haihong Huang, was previously arrested on multiple occasions for prostitution at massage parlors and is alleged to function as the primary operator and pimp of the businesses.
The lawsuit also names the owners of the four commercial properties involved as fronts for the prostitution activity including: (1) 5740 York Boulevard in Eagle Rock; (2) 6630 N. Figueroa Street in Eagle Rock; (3) 1037 N. Avalon Boulevard in Wilmington; and (4) 3214 De Witt Drive in North Hollywood. The properties are each located near residential neighborhoods and in close proximity to schools or churches. The location at 5740 York Boulevard is specifically located on the same property as We Tell Stories, a nonprofit children’s art school and adjacent to the Highland Park Foursquare Church. The location at 1037 N. Avalon is near St. Peter and St. Paul Catholic Church and the location at 6630 N. Figueroa is near the Highland Park Church of the Nazarene.
The four businesses operated as massage parlors but allegedly advertised prostitution services via internet websites, followed up by text messages. Search warrants were executed by Los Angeles Police Department on January 7, 2016. Officers recovered a used condom bin at one of the locations, and seized approximately 80,000 in cash from the residences of the business operators.
Four additional businesses in the City of Los Angeles, which were operated by the same business operators, closed after numerous prostitution arrests.
The civil abatement lawsuit seeks monetary civil penalties as well as an injunction to prohibit the business operators from operating similar businesses anywhere in the City of Los Angeles and prohibiting the property owners from allowing massage businesses or similar businesses to operate on their respective properties.