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OC spa suspected of being brothel shut down

May 19, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Massage-parlor workers move out as authorities move in to carry out a shutdown order from an Orange County judge. It's the end of a legal battle that's been years in the making.Wednesday's shutdown is the culmination of a three-year investigation into charges of prostitution and other lewd acts at a Lake Forest massage parlor.

Investigators watched as an employee cleared out of the establishment. The Orange County Sheriff's Department came armed with a court order to shut down Lake Forest Chiropractic.

"In the past we do have a number of prostitution violations, narcotic violations, massaging without a license and things of that nature," said Jim Amormino, a spokesman for the sheriff's department.

City officials allege the business, which in the past has operated under different names, has a history of providing sex for pay and is a public nuisance.

A state appeals court ruled the city can board up the former day spa for up to a year.

Investigators say over the past three years they've conducted undercover stings after receiving complaints from residents in Lake Forest.

"In all three separate investigations, 16 employees were arrested," said Amormino.

When authorities first entered the business they did find a male client inside this room lying on the table. He was covered with a towel and he was alone at the time.

Authorities said about a dozen employees were found inside the place.

Investigators did not arrest anyone but they will review business surveillance video to see if there was illegal activity.

An attorney representing the business said, "There is a new tenant in the building and the city has improperly closed this new tenant's business even though it is unrelated to the lawsuit that lead to the judgment. Cities should not be actively putting people out of business; rather they should be actively looking for ways to encourage business in the city to generate jobs and taxes."