SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - Ten people made so much money running a string of 40 Bay Area brothels that they wired more than $288,000 to Asia for their recruiters to hire more prostitutes, federal prosecutors say in a 32-count indictment.
Lead defendant Allen Fong, 58, of San Mateo is charged in all 32 counts, including racketeering, conspiracy, money laundering and prostitution conspiracy.
According to the 45-page indictment, the ring recruited women from Asia to work in 40 brothels throughout the Bay Area. The "enterprise," as the indictment calls it, allegedly operated for 12 years.
Prostitutes kept two-thirds of their earnings and the enterprise took one-third of the money, prosecutors said. The enterprise rented the apartments, through straw men, and advertised it on the Internet, on craigslist and elsewhere, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. The defendants also allegedly ran the day-to-day operations of the brothels. They hired telephone operators to take calls from the social network sites and coordinate the prostitution.
Prosecutors say the enterprise ran brothels in Pinole, San Mateo, Redwood City, Sunnyvale, Belmont, Fremont, Cupertino, Santa Clara, Foster City, San Bruno, Colma, and South San Francisco.
In addition to Allen Fong, who used eight aliases, the defendants include:
Ya Huai Hung, 53, of Taiwan;
Leow Wan Ru Veron, 53, of Singapore;
Robert Chun, 54, of San Francisco;
Jie Mu, 43, of San Francisco;
Laurence Shu Kwan Lee, 36, of San Francisco;
Kevin Hartig, 58, of Daly City;
Waylen Fong, 70, formerly of San Mateo;
Angelina Chuong, 39, of San Francisco;
and Chonthicha Jaemratanasophin, 48, of Thailand.
Seven of the defendants were arrested Thursday; six were released on bonds of $100,000 to $500,000; one is still detained.
Fong is due in Federal Court on Dec. 16.
The others are due to appear in Magistrate's Court on Oct. 29.
All defendants face long stretches in prison if they are convicted.
Read the Top 8
Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.