Unhappy ending for Billings massage parlor owner who pushed employees to offer sexual services

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BILLINGS – A Billings woman who owned and operated massage parlors in Billings admitted allegations on Tuesday that she enticed women to work and provide prostitution services in her businesses, Acting U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson said today.

Kyong Cha Roberts, 68, pleaded guilty to an indictment charging her with coercion and enticement. Roberts faces a maximum 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and five years of supervised release.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy J. Cavan presided. A sentencing date is pending before U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen. Roberts was released pending further proceedings.

In court documents, the government alleged that from about 2016 through 2019, Roberts owned and operated massage parlors in Billings, including U-Spa and Happy Spa. In June 2019, Roberts posted an advertisement in an online Korean newspaper, Kyocharo, seeking women to work in her massage business and provided her phone number. A woman, identified as Jane Doe 1, contacted Roberts, who told Doe that she could make around $5,000 per month at the massage parlor. Doe talked over the phone with Roberts about sexual services being provided at U-Spa.  Doe agreed to come to Billings, bought a bus ticket, arrived in June 2019 and began working at U-Spa. Doe and Roberts discussed sexual services again. Customers typically would pay cash for services. Most customers received a massage and sexual services. Prostitution is illegal in Montana.

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Assistant U.S. Attorneys Zeno B. Baucus and Bryan T. Dake are prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the FBI.

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