SAN FRANCISCO– LAWFUEL – Legal News, Legal Jobs Netw…

SAN FRANCISCO– LAWFUEL – Legal News, Legal Jobs Network – United States Attorney Kevin V. Ryan announced that Anthony Gar Lau, 46, of San Bruno, pleaded guilty on Friday to one count of money laundering. This guilty plea is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), San Francisco Police Department, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service.

In pleading guilty, Mr. Lau admitted to the following:

Since 1995, Mr. Lau owned the Golden Flower Steam and Sauna Spa, located at 215 Second Street in San Francisco, and operated it as a brothel. Mr. Lau and his partners employed, as prostitutes, aliens without legal status to work in the United States. Mr. Lau concealed the prostitutes from detection by immigration authorities by, among other things, failing to report them as employees to the appropriate government agencies. Mr. Lau used the funds generated by harboring aliens to pay for the Golden Flower’s operating expenses in order to continue harboring illegal aliens.

As part of his plea agreement, Mr. Lau agreed to forfeit $1,000,000 to the United States, which represents the value of the proceeds that he earned from alien harboring. Mr. Lau was indicted by a federal grand jury on March 23, 2006 on charges of alien harboring and money laundering offenses in connection with Operation Gilded Cage. Operation Gilded Cage is a federal investigation of alien harboring, interstate transportation for purposes of prostitution, interstate travel in aid of racketeering and money laundering, all related to individuals involved in the massage parlor industry. Under the plea agreement, Mr. Lau pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1956 § (a)(1)(A)(i).

The sentencing of Mr. Lau is scheduled for March 7, 2007 before Judge Breyer in San Francisco. The maximum statutory penalty for one count of money laundering is 20 years imprisonment and a fine of $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction, restitution, and 5 years supervised release. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Peter B. Axelrod and Laurel Beeler are the Assistant U.S. Attorneys who are prosecuting the case with the assistance of paralegals Kristina Pollak and Kim Hopkins and legal technicians Mae Chu and Tyle Doerr. Department of Justice Civil Rights Trial Attorneys Andrew Kline and Evans Rice assisted in the investigation of this case. This indictment is the result of an investigation, called Operation Gilded Cage, by the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), San Francisco Police Department, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service.

The press release for Mr. Lau’s indictment is available at:

http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/can/press/2006/2006_07_07_gilded.cage.kim.pang.pleas.press.htm

The original Gilded Cage press release may be found at: http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/can/press/2005/2005_07_01_Gilded_Cage.html

The press release on the first indictment to focus on brothel operators is available at: http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/can/press/html/2006_02_24_gildedcage.2nd.indictment.press.htm

Further Information:

Case #: CR 06-0192 CRB

A copy of this press release may be found on the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s website at www.usdoj.gov/usao/can.

Electronic court filings and further procedural and docket information are available at https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl.

Judges’ calendars with schedules for upcoming court hearings can be viewed on the court’s website at www.cand.uscourts.gov.

All press inquiries to the U.S. Attorney’s Office should be directed to Luke Macaulay at (415) 436-6757 or by email at [email protected]

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