By Neha Malhi
WASHINGTON, DC – A former San Diego police officer and three others were charged this week by the U.S. Dept of Justice in connection with several illicit massage businesses, operating in California and Arizona.
Peter Griffin, Kyung Sook Hernandez, Yu Hong Tan, and a fourth suspect, unnamed, have been operating illicit massage businesses that sell commercial sex under the guise of therapeutic massage services, between 2013 and August of 2022.
Griffin, who is a retired police officer and former attorney, previously worked as a detective with the Vice Operations Unit of the San Diego Police Department, a unit tasked with dismantling the very businesses he now stands charged with operating and promoting.
“Their criminal scheme allegedly included using cell phones, the internet, and banking channels to register their businesses, advise commercial sexual services online, employ multiple women to perform commercial sexual services in the businesses, manage the illicit businesses’ finances, and profit from the illegal enterprises,” stated the press release.
Department of Homeland Security officers conducted the investigation with the assistance of, the San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force, and various other state and local police teams.
The DOJ statement said, if convicted, the accused could face up to five years in prison for committing interstate and foreign travel or transportation in aid of racketeering, up to 10 years for money laundering and related crimes, and up to 30 years for wire fraud. In addition, they also face monetary penalties, and a period of supervised release and restitution.