BOSTON – The former owner of a massage parlor pleaded guilty yesterday in connection with filing fraudulent applications for pandemic-related loans under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act in which she failed to disclose that her employees engaged in commercial sex acts with customers.
Aticha Jittaphol, 33, of Brighton, pleaded guilty to two counts of making false statements in federal loan applications. U.S. Senior District Court Judge Mark L. Wolf sentenced Jittaphol to time served (approximately two months). Jittaphol was charged in September 2021.
Jittaphol is the former owner of Mantra Dhevi Spa in Brighton. In March and April of 2020, Jittaphol submitted fraudulent applications for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans in which she falsely stated that the applicant was not engaged in any illegal activity. However, her employees at Mantra Dhevi Spa engaged in prostitution from which she collected a portion of fees paid by each customer. Jittaphol also actively promoted the prostitution by recruiting employees and attracting new customers. In total, Jittaphol obtained $7,066 in fraudulent payments from the EIDL and PPP loan programs.
United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins; Matthew B. Millhollin, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; Ketty Larco Ward, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; and Boston Police Acting Commissioner Gregory Long made the announcement. Special assistance was provided by the Cambridge, Boston, Franklin and Lexington Police Departments. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kelly Lawrence, David Derusha and Elysa Wan of Rollins’ Criminal Division and Suffolk County Assistant District Attorneys Alyssa Tochka and Luke Goldworm, who were appointed as Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys, prosecuted the case.
On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by, among other methods, augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts. For more information on the Department’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.
Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.