Judge won’t dismiss massage parlor civil racketeering case

 

DOVER — A civil racketeering claim against a Chinese man who allegedly ran a prostitution ring in Delaware in 2013-14 was kept alive in Superior Court last week.

While Da Zhong Wang sought to dismiss a Delaware Department of Justice action, Judge Abigail M. LeGrow found in a 16-page decision that “it is reasonable to infer that prostitution was a regular way of conducting business at Defendant’s massage parlors.”

According to court documents, Mr. Wang pleaded guilty to permitting prostitution on April 19, 2015. His professional license was suspended on June 5, 2015 and $2,000 in civil penalties were imposed.

According to the order, the DOJ is seeking $700,000 in damages from Mr. Wang.

Mr. Wang filed a motion for summary judgment, claiming the supposed acts police investigated “lack a common purpose and involved different victims.” He also argued the DOJ could not prove a continuing pattern because “the predicate acts only span a (12 1/2) month period and do not pose a threat of continued criminal activity.”

Da Zhong Wang

The order noted that Mr. Wang operated massage parlors at, among other locations, Da Wang’s Bodyworks in Dover, Relaxed Spa in Rehoboth Beach and Massage Center in Middletown.

The DOJ alleged that Mr. Wang violated Delaware’s Organized Crime and Racketeering Act and “engaged in a pattern of racketeering activity,” according to documents.

Mr. Wang did not “concede he knew about the predicate acts at the other locations mentioned in the complaint” other than Dover, according to Judge LeGrow. He also claimed that there was no “open-ended continuity because the massage parlors have been shut down.”

The judge cited examples in holding that “prostitution was a regular way of conducting business at Defendant’s massage parlors.

“The three predicate acts of prostitution involved masseuses soliciting customers during the course of a massage at different parlors. At the Middletown and Dover locations, (Delaware State Police) found evidence suggesting the parlors were also used as living quarters with sleeping arrangements and laundry washing.

“Additionally, the Dover location clogged the sewer system with a bag of used condoms and other detritus on two occasions. …”

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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