Two Asian women charged on prostitution-related offenses in connection with activities reported at a business near intersection of Webber Street and South Beneva Road

Both arrested at JFK Airport in New York and then extradited to Florida, Sheriff’s Office says

On July 5, two women who had worked in Sarasota were arrested by representatives of Homeland Security Investigations (HIS) on outstanding Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office warrants for prostitution-related offenses, the Sheriff’s Office has reported.

The investigation leading to the arrests of Yueqing Gao, 46, and Guomei Xiong, 50, began in early 2022, when complaints were received about the New Moka Spa, located at 3623 Webber St. in Sarasota, a news release said.

That address is the site of a shopping center within the northeast quadrant of the intersection of Webber Street and South Beneva Road. A number of commercial businesses and services are located in that complex.

“The two suspects were taken into custody while re-entering the country through John F Kennedy International Airport,” the Sheriff’s Office news release added. They were transferred to the Riker’s Island Correctional Facility in New York City before being extradited to Florida last week, the release noted.

Yueqing and Guomei were each charged with one felony count of Deriving Support from the Proceeds of Prostitution, the release said. Additionally, Yueqing was charged with two misdemeanor counts of Facilitating a Prostitution Business.

Upon arrival in Florida, Guomei and Yueqing were processed at the Sarasota County Correctional Facility on July 19 and ultimately released on bond.

Yueqing’s bond totaled $2,500, a Sheriff’s Office Corrections Division record shows, while the bond for Guomei was set at $7,500.

The arrest results from an investigation into complaints that focused on women providing sexual services to customers in exchange for money, the Sheriff’s office news release pointed out. Investigators executed a search warrant at the spa in May; however, both women had already left the United States, the release noted.

Guomei’s Probable Cause Affidavit lists her address as 4015 Aspen Chase Drive in Naples, while Yueqing’s address was noted as 4844 186th St. in Fresh Meadows, N.Y.

The Naples house — with four bedrooms and three baths — is valued at $1,157,000, says. The New York house, with four bedrooms and one bath, has an estimated value of $948,700, Zillow notes.

The Probable Cause Affidavits for the women explain that New Moka Spa LLC was registered to Weiqun Wang, with the Webber Street address in Sarasota, as shown on records maintained by the Florida Division of Corporations. Wang had the same address as Yueqing, the affidavits point out. As his date of birth is Nov. 4, 1998, the affidavits continue, detectives believe he is Yueqing’s son.

Surveillance, witness statements and bank records research

Throughout the Sheriff’s Office investigation, the affidavits point out, detectives “observed patterns of life, conducted surveillance, combed bank information and reviewed online prostitution activity referencing New Moka Spa LLC. It was quickly apparent,” the affidavits add, “the female employees were living upstairs in a portion of the business connected to the downstairs massage parlor.”

When detectives executed a search warrant, the affidavits say, two Asian females “were actively working at the business … One later admitted the business provides sexual services to the customers in exchange [for] money.”

The affidavits note that detectives found “used condoms within the business, as well as large amounts of packaged condoms in various areas.”

Further, the affidavits say, “Male customers entering New Moka Spa provided sworn statement they were seeking sexual services at the business for $100. They also admitted they have received these services in the past.”

One detective met with the landlord and owner of Leone Enterprises, who received monthly rent checks from New Moka Spa, the affidavits continue. He told the detective that prior to Yueqing’s becoming the manager, he received checks from a different person who used the name Sophia. That woman gave the landlord a phone number, the affidavits say, which the detective found to be registered to Guomei.

Further, the affidavits note, the landlord had a photograph he had taken of “Sophia” with his cell phone. The woman “was clearly Guomei Xiong,” the affidavits point out.

When detectives interviewed New Moka employees, the affidavits say, they learned that the owner of the business was named “Gao.” One of the employees explained that Yueqing Gao had flown with Guomei to China for a wedding; another employee with whom the detectives spoke said she was asked to manage the business in Yueqing’s absence.

That employee also told the detectives that Yueqing and Guomei “have full knowledge of the prostitution occurring inside and everyone who works at New Moka Spa knows it’s expected upon their arrival,” the affidavits add.

When a detective showed the workers the photo of “Sophia,” the affidavits continue, one employee “gasped during the interview” and explained that that woman was the previous manager and a friend of Yueqing.

Further, the detectives learned from their interviews that women at the business “were instructed to place all cash proceeds into the refrigerator of the business,” as those proceeds belonged to Yueqing. The women also “were to pay fees to cover cosmetic supplies for the business and to rent a room in the upstairs portion of the business. They were told not to leave the business” until other females replaced them, the affidavits say, “or they would be fired.”

A review of bank records found that Guomei was receiving a monthly check for $6,000 from New Moka Spa LLC, the affidavits note. From November 2021 through March of this year, the affidavits say, the checks added up to $105,870.97.

The only other people receiving checks from the business, the records showed, was Weiqun Wang and the landlord with Leone Enterprises, the affidavits point out.

Guomei received the highest amount of all the checks issued by New Moka Spa, the affidavits add.

The detectives also learned that Chase Bank had closed the New Moka Spa account in March. The business had opened a new account at Wells Fargo, the affidavits say, which showed that Guomei received another $6,000 check from the business in April.