Man Hui Cho, 55, and his wife, Ki Sun Park, 54, both of Houston, have been sentenced to federal prison for their roles in a bribery, visa fraud and an alien importation for prostitution purposes conspiracy, United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today. United States District Judge Lynn Hughes sentenced Cho and Park to 12 months plus one day and 18 months imprisonment, respectively, to be followed by three years of supervised release. The defendants were also ordered to forfeit the more than $40,000 in bribe payments they made to law enforcement officials posing as corrupt federal agents.
In February 2006, Cho and Park approached a Houston Police Department (HPD) officer for the purpose of inquiring whether he would be willing to provide advance tips on when HPD’s Vice Division or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would be conducting inspections of the two sexually-oriented businesses they then owned and operated, La Premiere Femme and Sakura Spa. The Cho and Park knew the females working at their businesses were engaging in prostitution and that at least some of the females from South Korea, who not only worked but also lived at the businesses, had no legal status in the United States and would be subject to deportation if discovered by law enforcement.
Beginning in March 2006 and continuing through August 2007, the defendants met with an undercover federal officer posing as a corrupt law enforcement official willing to provide the requested information to the defendants and made monthly payments of $1,500 to the FBI Undercover for the assurance that such information would be provided. On or about Aug. 9, 2006, and pursuant to the investigation, the officer provided a tip to Park that law enforcement would be inspecting the businesses. Surveillance determined that as a result of the rouse tip, the defendants moved the undocumented alien workers out of the businesses after the tip was received.
In November 2006, Park inquired whether the undercover officer could assist in obtaining working permits for two aliens from South Korea who worked at the businesses and whose passports had expired. They later met with the officer and an ICE special agent who was posing as a corrupt federal official willing to provide fraudulent immigration documents. The defendants ultimately paid $10,000 to the ICE agent for two fraudulently procured employment authorization documents (EADs), which they believed would allow the out of status aliens to legally work in the United States.
In addition to payments for the two illegally procured EADs, the defendants ultimately made more than $30,000 in bribe payments to the FBI undercover officer during the course of the conspiracy.
This case was investigated by the FBI, ICE and HPD and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jason Varnado.
Houston’s crime statistics for the first five months of 2009 indicate the city’s violent crime rate has decreased 1.9 percent compared to the same period a year ago. Murders were down by 9.6 percent.
However, from January through May, there was an increase of 4.6 percent in property crimes compared to the same period in 2008.
“Due to the current economic recession, property crimes are increasing all across America, and now in Houston,” said HPD Chief Harold Hurtt. “Since the first of the year, the Houston Police Department has noticed an increase in residential burglaries,” he said. “The crimes are being committed citywide during daylight hours, when many people are away from home.”
“Yet, unlike other areas of the country, Houston is fortunate that our economy continued to prosper for much of 2008,” said Chief Hurtt. “Some of our crime prevention initiatives, like our Auto Theft Bait Car Program, helped drop auto thefts by 5.5 percent to help keep our non-violent numbers in check.”
According to the FBI’s recently released “2008 Crime in the United States” Report on violent and non-violent crime, murder was down 4.4 percent nationally, whereas Houston experienced a 16.4 percent decrease in murders.
According to FBI crime statistics released earlier this month, Houston is one of the safest large cities in the U.S.
Nationwide robberies were down an average of 1.1 percent; while Houston saw a 7.6 percent decrease in robberies.
The FBI report indicated the national average for property crimes declined 1.6 percent in 2008. Houston far exceeded that improvement by posting a 10.2 percent decrease in combined crimes of burglary, theft, and auto theft in 2008.
Chief Hurtt lauded the efforts of the HPD Crime Reduction Unit and its 60 officers in targeting hot spot areas around the city as identified in crime trend reports relayed by patrol commanders to the Crime Center.
The 24/7 Real Time Crime Center provides meaningful and trustworthy direction to law enforcement management in assigning overtime officers to combat a variety of unlawful activities including gangs and organized crime.
Under the “Officers to the Streets” Program, the HPD also identified positions in the department where officers could be replaced by civilian personnel. That program added an additional 87 officers to patrol the streets.
“Additionally, he said, “the main focus of the Keep Houston SAFE campaign is crime prevention.”
This involves proactive enforcement efforts and measures aimed at the reduction of criminal incidents, rather than responding to crimes after they are reported.
“Please do not hesitate to call 911 to report suspicious activity in your neighborhoods, and please remove valuable items from inside your cars,” he said.
“Crime prevention starts with each person. If we all do our part to fight crime and make it as hard as possible for a criminal to commit a crime, we are helping to Keep Houston SAFE,” Chief Hurtt added.
DRAKE, SOLANGE, TRE, CHAMILLIONARE, DEVIN THE DUDE, AND MANY MORE!
When Bun B picks up the phone people show up. That’s what the Houston based rapper did Saturday night for his Bun B and Friends concert. It was held at Warehouse Live. Hundreds of people packed into the venue to see their favorite hometown rapper with a laundry list of his famous partners. On that list: Lupe Fiasco, Tre, Chamillionaire, Drake, Devin the Dude, and the list goes on. Lots of celebrities spotted walking around backstage as well. James Prince, Solange Knowles, Big E, and many more. Also at the show: Marcus Harris, Kalele Party King Thumbutu, J-Mac, Artee Jones, Omar Wilson, and the Insite was snapping the pics!
Note: The Insite’s photo is compliments of Ikem of Indmix.com!
RETURNING A SHOUTOUT TO HIS FANS!
Houston rapper Bun B took the time out to say hello to my Facebook friends. He was at the station for an interview. I told him to read some of the shoutouts my FB friends left for him on my desktop computer. He read the comments and left this message: