A husband and wife have been arrested and charged with operating a high-end prostitution ring out of two upscale apartment complexes in Pasadena and Irvine, authorities said Wednesday.
Thanh Ly, 35, and Li Chen, 32, are accused of managing two dozen women, who charged clients $200 per encounter in the discreet residential buildings, said Lt. Tom Pederson of the Pasadena Police Department, which worked with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents on the case.
The couple, who were arrested Dec. 16 after a two-year investigation, are being held in lieu of $2-million bail pending a preliminary hearing on charges of pimping and pandering, Pederson said. Four women whose names were not immediately released were also arrested for alleged prostitution.
"These four ladies are U.S. citizens, between the ages of 20 and 45," Pederson said.
Police also confiscated $10,000 in cash, several expensive cars and jewelry worth about $20,000.
Authorities launched their investigation in 2007 based on an anonymous tip.
Investigators took their time exposing the alleged prostitution ring because of initial suspicions about human trafficking, Pederson said. But the women involved were apparently drawn to the business by the relatively high pay, not coercion, police said.