Houston Woman Pleads Guilty to Structuring Prostitution Proceeds

DENVER (LAWFUEL) – Yong Gates, age 70, of Houston, Texas, pled guilty yesterday before U.S. District Court Judge Marcia S. Krieger to structuring prostitution proceeds, Troy A. Eid, U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado, Christopher M. Sigerson, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, and Jeffrey Copp, Special Agent in Charge, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), announced. Gates is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Krieger on June 9, 2009 at 3:00 pm.

Yong Gates was charged by Information on May 28, 2008. According to the facts contained in the original charging document, as well as the stipulated facts contained in the plea agreement, beginning on or about December 2001, and continuing through August 6, 2003, Gates knowingly sought to employ prostitutes at her business, Sun Health Spa, located at 10763 Turner Boulevard in Longmont, Colorado. Gates admits that Sun Health Spa generated much of its revenue in the form of currency that originated from acts of prostitution.

Beginning on June 30, 2003, and continuing through August 14, 2003, Gates did knowingly concealed prostitution proceeds totaling $26,050.00. The defendant deposited the prostitution funds in amounts less than $10,000.00 into her business bank account in an attempt to evade currency reporting requirements (also known as structuring).

Gates faces up to 5 years imprisonment, and not more than a $250,000 fine, for structuring her deposits.

In addition to pleading guilty, Gates has agreed not to contest a civil forfeiture action, where she will forfeit certain assets valued at no more than $125,000, as well as seized assets, including: $550 in currency seized from Sun Health Spa in August 2003; $4,069.33 seized in December 2005 from a bank account in the name of Sun Health Spa, $2,050 in currency seized from Sun Health Spa on December 15, 2005; and $6,000 in currency seized from Yong Gate’s residence.

“‘Structuring’ funds so that they are hidden from the IRS is a crime,” said U.S. Attorney Troy A. Eid.

“IRS Criminal Investigation investigates potential structuring violations to ensure the integrity of the Bank Secrecy Act and to combat illegal activities like prostitution,” said Christopher M. Sigerson, IRS Special Agent in Charge of the IRS-Criminal Investigation, Denver Field Office.

“Using our unique law enforcement authorities, ICE investigates the critical financial aspects to crimes,” said Jeffrey Copp, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Denver. “For many crimes, the money that’s involved is the hardest to hide from authorities. These illegal money transactions may be the only evidence available to pursue prosecutions.” Copp oversees a four-state area which includes: Colorado, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming.

This case was investigated by the IRS Criminal Investigation Division and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Mackey. Assistant U.S. Attorney Tonya Andrews of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Asset Forfeiture Unit is handling the forfeiture.

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