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Human Smuggling/Trafficking

Chicago-area massage parlor owner and associate arrested for allegedly extorting, threatening female worker

CHICAGO - A suburban massage parlor owner and his associate, who allegedly conspired to extort thousands of dollars from a female foreign worker and threatened her in various ways, were arrested Wednesday on federal extortion charges. These arrests resulted from a joint investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Cook County Sheriff's Office.

Alex A. Campbell, who is in his mid-40s, of Glenview, Ill., and Danielle John, 23, of Des Plaines, Ill., were arrested Jan. 13 by ICE agents and Cook County Sheriff's officers. Campbell, aka "Dave" and "Daddy," and John, aka "Princess," were each charged with conspiring and attempting to commit extortion. The criminal complaint was filed Jan. 12 in the Northern District of Illinois and unsealed following their arrests.

According to the affidavit, the alleged extortion victim, identified as Victim 2, came to the United States in 2007. She attended a massage therapy school in Chicago where she met Campbell in the summer of 2008. The following November, Victim 2 moved into an apartment with another alleged victim. Both women began working at Campbell's massage parlor, the Day and Night Spa on Northwest Highway in Mt. Prospect, Ill., which was among several locations where ICE agents and Sheriff's officers executed search warrants Jan. 13.

Victim 2 told investigators that other women who worked at the spa had tattoos of a horseshoe on their necks. She also identified John as an associate of Campbell's. The affidavit further states that investigators have interviewed women who worked for Campbell and with John at the spa between August 2008 and August 2009. Campbell allegedly forced the women to get various tattoos.

According to Victim 2, Campbell told her he could assist with her immigration status and paperwork. She paid him about $13,000 from money she earned at the spa and money sent to her by her parents. In March 2009, Campbell allegedly told Victim 2 that she had to pay him - initially, an additional $10,000 and later raised to $16,000 - or should would have to work at one of his spas from opening to closing time seven days a week. While completing payments on the $16,000 demand, Campbell allegedly demanded an additional $5,000 from Victim 2.

Campbell allegedly verbally abused and threatened Victim 2; he told her he had a gun and forced her to have sex with him. On one occasion, Campbell allegedly forced Victim 2 and another woman to have sex with each other while he recorded a video of them on his cell phone. He demanded that Victim 2 pay him or work at the Day and Night Spa, and threatened her that he would post the sex video on the Internet and send it to her parents, the charges allege. Victim 2 began recording a series of conversations with Campbell and John between August and October 2009, including a meeting with John on Oct. 5, 2009, at which she allegedly gave John $1,500 to pass along to Campbell.

"Exploiting women for the sole purpose of turning a profit is not only criminal, it's a barbaric way to treat human beings," said Gary Hartwig, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Chicago. "ICE and our law enforcement partners will aggressively investigate this alleged criminal activity and provide the victims the aid they need."

The Cook County State's Attorney's Office is assisting in this ongoing investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Diane MacArthur and Steven Grimes, Northern District of Illinois, and John Richmond, a trial attorney with the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, are prosecuting the case.

Extortion conspiracy carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The public is reminded that a complaint contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators.