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'Salon' operator from Auburn sentenced to prison for immigration fraud conspiracies; 'Madam' recruited Korean nationals to work as prostitutes at nightclub
A Korean national who fraudulently gained U.S. citizenship in a fake marriage was sentenced today to two years in prison and three years of supervised release for immigration fraud conspiracies, U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan announced.
Miyoung Roberts, 42, was sent to prison for conspiracy to commit immigration fraud, conspiracy to harbor, transport and induce illegal aliens and attempt to commit immigration fraud, Durkan said.
Roberts operated the Blue Moon bar in Federal Way. In her supervisory role, Roberts arranged for more than two dozen Korean women to travel to and throughout the U.S. to work at various clubs, and she counseled them on how to avoid detection by immigration authorities.
At sentencing, U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton said Roberts' conduct was "degrading" and "shameful."
Between 2009 and 2012, Roberts worked first as an "assistant madam" and later as "madam," at the Blue Moon, hiring the women who served as "bar girls" and arranging their transportation from Korea to the U.S., Durkan said.
Roberts also arranged apartments for the women to live in and supervised some of the women's prostitution activities, Durkan said.
Roberts herself entered into a fraudulent marriage to obtain a green card in the U.S. and attempted to arrange a fraudulent marriage for another co-conspirator. The groom she recruited was actually an agent working undercover on the case.
Roberts did not limit her activities to King and Pierce counties, but was prominent in supplying women to similar Korean bar businesses throughout the country.
"The defendant was involved in criminal activity for over three years, and even when not employed at the Blue Moon, she was actively recruiting and coordinating the travel of illegal Korean national women to work at various room salon (bar) businesses in New York, New Jersey, Texas and Colorado. ... Through such recruitment, the defendant was able to secure a job for herself at any one of these room salons around the country, and earned a reputation for being a successful room salon madam. ... Through her work as a room salon madam, the defendant induced numerous Korean women to unlawfully enter and stay in the United States to work at various room salons in different cities," prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo.
The owner of the Blue Moon salon, Chang Kim, will be sentenced next month.
The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB), the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) and the FBI.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Ye-Ting Woo and Matthew Thomas.