The investigation into illegal practices at Bellevue massage parlors continues, as Bellevue police made seven more arrests in connection with fraudulently obtained massage licenses.
The reports that in this latest round of inspections, seven were arrested, five of which were owners and co-owners of the spas and two employees, according to a press release.
The massage therapists arrested are accused of using suspected counterfeit credentials from China, according to the Bellevue Police Department.
Fraudulently obtained licenses, practicing without a license and permitting unlicensed massage are only a few of the violations, according to the Bellevue police department. In some cases, the same person has been arrested for a second time, which increases the violation to a Class C felony, the police department reported.
“It is frustrating to find people we have already arrested on similar violations are out there the next day, illegally working in our city. We will work with the Department of Health to identify, contact and arrest individuals that continue to break the law”, said Det. Tor Kraft in a prepared statement.
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.
, according to the Belelvue Police Department.
Police spokeswoman Officer Carla Iafrate told Bellevue Patch earlier this year that the investigation targeted individuals with improper licenses, not businesses, although some of the businesses did close after the arrests.
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.
Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection provided Mandarin translators during the arrests, the Bellevue police reported.
Bellevue Police will continue to investigate further claims of massage license fraud and is committed to eliminating all illegal massage practices in Bellevue, the police department said.
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
Jin Health Spa
Kings Spa or Able Spa or Massage Spa
Aloha Spa (now called Lavender Spa)
-- List provided by the