NORFOLK, Va. (WRIC) — On Friday a Norfolk woman pleaded guilty to conspiracy to engage in money laundering, according to the Department of Justice. This comes after two people pleaded guilty to the same charges last week.
Si Liu, 36, Yang Gao, 33, and Ye Wang, 32 engaged in money laundering related to sex trafficking, according to court documents. The three operated out of unregistered massage parlors in Virginia Beach and Williamsburg. Women who worked at the parlors performed sex acts on customers in exchange for money.
Gao managed the operations of the parlors including money obtained from commercial sex, providing transportation to the workers and maintaining the parlors. Liu helped facilitate the exploitation of female workers, collected money from customers and managed online advertisements for the parlors. Liu also provided the employees with condoms and gave financial incentives, encouraging them to participate in illicit sexual acts.
Gao, Wang and Liu split the proceeds with the women engaged in prostitution. They would travel between the parlors to collect the money and then deposit it into various bank accounts. The money was then sent to other members of the larger business through mobile banking and cash deliveries.
As part of the plea agreements, the defendants will forfeit four vehicles, over $130,000, jewelry, a gold bar and three personal residences.
Gao and Wang are scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 4 and Liu is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 11. Each defendant faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, but will likely get lesser sentences.