Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Lancaster cracks down on massage parlors believed to be fronts for prostitution, money laundering

February 2, 2010 |  2:53 pm

A crackdown on massage parlors believed to be fronts for prostitution and money laundering in Lancaster has been reaping positive results, city officials said Tuesday.

Last year, 67 massage establishments were closed for violating code enforcement laws, according to Lancaster’s Code Enforcement Department, which coordinates with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Major Crimes Unit, the State Employment Development Department and other agencies.

The shuttered businesses represent a 22% drop in services offered by massage parlors and other independent ventures, officials said.

While investigating the legitimacy of the businesses, code enforcement officials said they uncovered cases of prostitution, worker’s compensation insurance fraud, unlicensed massage therapists, money laundering, illegal occupancy and other violations.

-- Ann M. Simmons