Former San Diego Vice Detective, Three Others Indicted for Owning and Operating Illicit Massage Businesses

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FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Department of Justice Building is pictured

Assistant U. S. Attorney Jill Streja (619) 546-8401

NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – August 12, 2022

SAN DIEGO – Former San Diego Police Officer Peter Griffin and three others are charged in an indictment partially unsealed today with crimes related to owning and operating five illicit massage businesses in California and Arizona that sold commercial sex under the guise of offering therapeutic massage services.

Griffin was arrested as he left his San Diego home early yesterday morning and made his first appearance in federal court today. Likewise, defendants Kyung Sook Hernandez and Yu Hong Tan were also taken into custody Thursday and appeared in federal court today. A fourth defendant remains at large.

According to the indictment, Griffin owned and operated the businesses with Kyung Sook Hernandez, Yu Hong Tan, and the fourth defendant at various times between 2013 and August 2022. Their alleged criminal scheme included using cell phones, the internet, and banking channels to register their businesses; advertise commercial sexual services online; employ multiple women to perform commercial sexual services in the businesses; manage the illicit businesses’ finances; and benefit financially from their illegal enterprise.

Griffin, who is also a former attorney, previously worked as a detective with the Vice Operations Unit of the San Diego Police Department, a unit tasked with dismantling the businesses he now stands charged with operating and promoting.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jill Streja of the Southern District of California, Trial Attorney Caylee Campbell of the Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice, and Trial Attorney Leah Branch of the Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit are prosecuting the case.

The investigation was led by Homeland Security Investigations, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, and the San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force, a regional, multi-agency effort led by the California Department of Justice dedicated to supporting survivors and holding traffickers accountable. The task force is comprised of numerous federal, state, and local agencies as well as the Southwest Border High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program.

DEFENDANTS                                             Case Number 22-CR-1824-JO                                 

Peter Griffin                                                    78

Kyung Sook Hernandez                                 58

Yu Hong Tan                                                  56

SUMMARY OF CHARGES

Conspiracy, Interstate and Foreign Travel or Transportation in Aid of Racketeering (ITAR)

18 U.S.C. §§ 371, 1952

Maximum Penalty: Five years in prison, $250,000 fine

Money Laundering

Maximum Penalty: Ten years in prison, $250,000 fine or twice amount of criminally derived property

18 U.S.C. § 1957

Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud and Wire Fraud

Maximum Penalty: Thirty years in prison, $1 million fine

18 U.S.C. §§ 1349, 1343

False Statement to a Mortgage Lender

Maximum Penalty: Thirty years in prison, $1 million fine

18 U.S.C. § 1014

AGENCIES

Homeland Security Investigations

Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation

San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force

Escondido Police Department

Tempe, Arizona Police Department

*The charges and allegations contained in an indictment or complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.