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Bellevue Massage Parlor Investigation Tags 13 More Therapists

A total of 20 Bellevue massage therapists to date face fraud charges in a continuation of the investigation of alleged use of counterfeit credentials in obtaining massage therapist licenses.

Twenty massage therapists in Bellevue face fraud charges after a nine-month long investigation that a number of massage therapists had obtained their licenses using counterfeit credentials, according to the Bellevue Police Department.

The investigations .

The most recent arrests and citations were made Thursday, according to Bellevue Police spokesman Officer Seth Tyler.

Police spokeswoman Officer Carla Iafrate told Bellevue Patch last month that the investigation targeted individuals with improper licenses, not businesses, although some of the businesses did close after the arrests.

The Bellevue Police vice division has been investigating since September, when it received information from the Washington State Department of Health and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) that a number of regional massage practitioner’s licenses had been obtained fraudulently.

The Bellevue Police Department reported that the therapists used suspected counterfeit credentials when applying to the Washington State Department of Health for a license to practice massage therapy.

According to the Bellevue police department, the people suspected claimed to have gone to school in China for the credentials, but they would have been unable to receive the listed massage training in China during the times listed on the applications.

Bellevue Police officers conducted a check of several massage parlors in the city of Bellevue on May 24, resulting in the arrest of 10 individuals and the citation of three, according to the Bellevue police department.

Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection provided Mandarin translators during the arrests, the Bellevue police reported.

The investigation is ongoing.

Affected Massage Parlors

Massage therapists who face charges after the fraud investigation worked for the following massage parlors. However, many of the following businesses also employed therapists with legitimate licenses.

Lotus Herbal Spa

Chi Energy Spa 

Sunflower Spa 

Hao Spa 

Jin Health Spa 

Lavender Spa 

Sapphire Spa

Kings Spa or Able Spa or Massage Spa

A-one Spa

Hao Spa

Aloha Spa (now called Lavender Spa) 

-- List provided by the

Carmen Lane August 30, 2012 at 07:48 AM
Your argument is invalid. I don't give a hoot how "skilled" some of these people may be in Asia. Welcome to America. If you are unlicensed and are performing massage to clients for money, YOU ARE BREAKING THE LAW. Go to school, take the state's tests, and get licensed and ins:ured properly. The argument that massage is thousands of years old, blah, blah, blah, does not fly. Women have been giving birth for a hell of a lot longer than that. But I would still have to be licensed in order to be a midwife. Because that is the law! The people who are arguing IN FAVOR of these unlicensed massage businesses and unlicensed individuals are a huge part of the problem. Supply and demand. People who demand cheap, unlicensed massages (or in the case of this article: sex!) apparently know they can get it from any number of Asian "spas". How many raids does it take on these illegal/unlicensed Asian foot massage/ reflexology businesses who are simply FRONTS FOR HUMAN TRAFFICKING & PROSTITUTION. I cannot wait for the new reflexology laws to kick in. These illegal/unlicensed businesses and operators need to be SHUT DOWN.
Lavon Watson August 30, 2012 at 08:24 AM
Rather than just complain about these issues I have actively spent the past several years trying to affect them. The new rules regarding reflexology, that go into effect in July 2013 were a direct result of my introducing Washington Engage, an anti-trafficking non-profit organization, into the process. Their collaboration with the AMTA ultimately led to the passage of Senate Bill 6103, as well as House Bill 1133 (an update on the rules for advertising) during the previous legislative session. Whether or not these two pieces of legislation positively affect this situation remains to be seen, however many of us are committed to doing whatever needs to be done to address this problem. I know it's hard to believe that LMPs could find themselves working in a practice with someone without a license, or even engaged in sexual services, but I have seen it on several ocassions.
Lavon Watson August 30, 2012 at 08:31 AM
I too am extremely unhappy about the situation we find ourselves in here in Washington, and all of this has created an environmet where consumers who are seeking sexual massage (they call themselves hobbyists) pose a risk to licensed and unlicensed therapists alike. Just two days ago an LMP in Bellevue was sexually assaulted by a male client at knifepoint after rejecting his sexual advances. My suggestion is to stop complaining and get involved, or expect nothing to change.
Venice Buhain August 30, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Carmen, Lavon, Thanks for your comments. It's so strange that the recent massage parlor arrests included prostitution charges, and about a week later, a massage therapist was sexually assaulted after rejecting a customer's sexual advances. While the timing could be a coincidence, I think the community is certainly connecting the two cases. I received a heartfelt anonymous note that said while the police are doing a good job cleaning up dirty spas, the writer hoped that people would rally behind massage therapists that are doing the right thing (and in this case, rally behind a massage therapist who stood up for herself).
Frankie Tsang June 05, 2013 at 10:11 AM
I don't think this is about counterfeit credentials at all. It's about not having strict enough local ordinances and state laws in place to combat this plague of massage/prostitution shops. This will be a temporary fix, but they will be back in business in no time. I would suggest that local and state attorney general should contact the Polaris Project and get technical assistance in drafting appropriate legislation and looking at what other states are doing to combat this very serious problem. It is not only adding to the criminal element but it is detracting from the tax base and we all know that taxpayers feel overburdened now. It is a public safety concern when unlicensed and untrained individuals attempt to muddle their way through a therapy session. Consumers are entitled to have someone trained who can help, not hurt. For example, can you imagine the damage that could result from someone walking/cracking your back if you actually had a herniated disc and the "therapist" had no training to recognize such possibilities?? Legitimate and properly licensed massage therapists are welcome in ANY community, but not those that are fronts for prostitution or potential permanent injuries.

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