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Mandarin-Speaking Cop Makes Brothel Bust in Chinatown

Mandarin-Speaking Cop Makes Brothel Bust in Chinatown

Brothel operator Sheng Quan Dong bribed the officer to keep police away from his business, prosecutors said. Dong is accused of making $18,000 in payoffs over two years.

Chicago Sun Times via YellowBrix

April 13, 2010

CHICAGO – A Chinese-speaking Chicago cop posed for more than two years as a crooked officer in a sting that busted a Chinatown prostitution ring and exposed a scheme to obtain thousands of Illinois driver’s licenses illegally, prosecutors said Friday.

Brothel operator Sheng Quan Dong bribed the officer to keep police away from his business, prosecutors said. Dong is accused of making $18,000 in payoffs over two years.

Dong, 37, faces felony bribery and money laundering charges, as well as felony prostitution charges. Also facing prostitution charges are four other people, including Dong’s wife; two alleged prostitutes; a customer; and a doorman for the brothel, prosecutors said.

“Criminal enterprises, like this one, present an enhanced threat to public safety when they combine their illegal businesses with identity fraud and bribery,” Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez said.

Police said they’ve seized more than $30,000 from Dong and are investigating another $100,000 he’s suspected of sending overseas.

The Mandarin-speaking undercover cop found Dong in 2006 through an ad in a Chinese-language newspaper. Dong started offering the bribes after the cop arrested him on prostitution charges, prosecutors said.

To show his loyalty to Dong, the undercover officer intervened when other cops conducted a fake raid on Dong’s brothel, prosecutors said. No one was arrested.

By the fall of 2007, Dong was comfortable enough with the cop to meet him at a Dunkin’ Donuts to discuss trouble he was having with some Chinese mafia members from New York, prosecutors said.

In a secretly recorded conversation, Dong said the mafia members kicked over furniture in his brothel because they were too drunk to have sex, prosecutors said.

Dong said he was worried the men might try to shut down his brothel, prosecutors said. They were in Chicago to obtain driver’s licenses, Dong allegedly told the cop before handing him $1,500 in an envelope.

The prostitution sting led investigators to an identity-fraud scheme in which 19 people were charged in federal court in 2009, Alvarez said.

Using fake passports, more than 15,000 Illinois driver’s licenses and state identification cards were obtained, prosecutors say. Customers — often undocumented immigrants from Asia — were charged thousands of dollars for forged documents, including a phony Chinese social security card and passport, prosecutors said. They also allegedly received alphanumeric codes to pass the written driver’s test without having to read the questions in English.

Prosecutors today would not discuss the connection between Dong’s alleged prostitution business and the identity fraud scheme.

Prosecutors said Dong hired women to fly to Chicago from New York and Texas. The women typically were Korean, Malaysian, Vietnamese or Chinese nationals. They allegedly charged their customers $120 for sex, and kicked back $40 to Dong.

Prosecutors said they don’t think the women were working against their will, a common problem in prostitution rings involving illegal immigrants.

Business was so brisk that Dong bought his bordello supplies in bulk, such as boxes containing 1,200 condoms, prosecutors said. Still, Dong allegedly groused to the undercover cop that he squandered much of his prostitution income on gambling and drinking — as well as on paying his own prostitutes to service him.

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