DENVER — A western Colorado man was arrested by federal authorities Tuesday and charged with using a false Social Security Number following the execution of a search warrant at a massage parlor.
This arrest is the result of an investigation conducted by the following agencies: FBI, Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), Grand Junction Police Department and the Mesa County Sheriff's Office, with the assistance of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).
Wei Li, age unknown, of Clifton, Colorado, was arrested without incident at the Balanced Healing Massage and Spa (Balanced Healing) in Grand Junction, Colorado.
The defendant appeared in federal court Wednesday afternoon in Grand Junction, where he was advised of his rights and the charges pending against him. Li is due back in court Thursday.
According to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, on Nov. 15, 2013, Bank of the West provided information regarding banking activity in accounts held by Balanced Healing, which included defendant Wei Li as a co-signer. According to the investigation, when the Balanced Healing account was opened by Li and another person, Li presented a signature card, including information stating he resided in Clifton, Colorado. Li also presented a Washington driver's license and provided a social security number. Li represented himself to be an unemployed truck driver and a non-resident alien.
Further investigation determined that Balanced Healing was in the client massage business and advertised erotic full-body massages. Between November 2012 and March 13, 2014, large amounts of cash were deposited in the business' accounts, and were used for the defendant and another person's personal expenses.
During the course of the investigation into possible human trafficking, it was determined from the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General that Li's Social Security Number was not a valid number and had never been issued. Further, IRS-CI determined the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number Li submitted was also not valid.
Li was present at Balanced Healing during the execution of a federal search warrant Tuesday. Li provided a social security card with a different number, with "Valid for work only with DHS Authorization" written upon it.
If convicted of false use of a social security number, the defendant faces up to five years' imprisonment and up to a $250,000 fine.
The charges contained in the criminal complaint are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.