A Chinatown brothel owner has been charged with prostituting women and paying bribes to a Chicago police officer, the Cook County State's Attorney's office announced Friday.
Sheng Quan Dong, 37, is charged with bribery and keeping a place of prostitution. His wife, Li Xia Zhao faces charges of solicitation and pimping, authorities said.
"Criminal enterprises, like this one, present an enhanced threat to public safety when they combine their illegal businesses with identity fraud and bribery," Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said. "We will continue the crack down on these organized rings on every front using every legal tool at our disposal."
The investigation, dating back to 2006, uncovered how Dong flew Asian women from around the country in to Chicago to work at his two brothels for several weeks at a time. Investigators say he told women to charge customers $120 for sexual services and pay Dong $40 for each encounter.
An undercover officer with the Chicago Police Department contacted Dong through an escort ad in a Chinese newspaper. Dong, whose telephone conversations with the officer about his prostitution business were recorded, is accused of making monthly payments in exchange for protection at his businesses.
Several others were also charged as part of the investigation. Kristy Kim, 46, charged with prostitution; Laisheng Zhang, 54, charged with pandering; Changhai Chen, 39, charged with patronizing a prostitute; and Danling Zeng, 32, charged with possession of a controlled substance and prostitution.
A judge ordered Dong held on $500,000 bail.