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Human Smuggling/Trafficking

Spa owner pleads guilty to harboring illegal aliens and money laundering

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A 48-year-old West Palm Beach resident pleaded guilty to charges of harboring illegal aliens for commercial advantage and money laundering following a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)-led investigation.

According to U.S. District Court documents, on Sep. 30, 2008, Hannah Chong, a U.S. citizen, was arrested during the execution of three federal search warrants.

Chong was harboring two illegal aliens at Coral Spa, located in West Palm Beach. She sexually exploited these females for commercial advantage by allowing them to commit acts of prostitution at Coral Spa.

Chong also received a salary derived in whole or in part from work and activities performed by the illegal aliens. She then deposited the funds into her own bank account knowing that they represented the proceeds of her harboring activities. 

U.S. Attorney R. Alexander Acosta commended the investigative work of all of the investigative agencies involved. This investigation was led by ICE and conducted jointly with the Palm Beach Sheriff's Office and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney John McMillan.

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.