ROCKVILLE, MD – This morning in Montgomery County Circuit Court before the Honorable Judge David Lease, Emily Zhang Lawrence, age 47, of Germantown, MD entered a guilty plea to operating a House of Prostitution.
At sentencing, the State and defense agree upon a one year suspended sentence and unsupervised probation. As a condition of her probation, the defendant will forfeit her business license and agrees not to open or operate any spa or massage business in the State of Maryland. Lawrence is scheduled to be sentenced June 2, 2020 at 8:45am.
On February 26, 2019, the Montgomery County Police Department initiated a 5-month-long investigation after receiving a web tip complaint that Rose’s Spa was being operated as a “house of prostitution.” The Spa’s posted hours were 10:30am to 10:00pm, seven days a week. During the course of the investigation, detectives learned that the defendant owned an apartment that she would use as a harboring place for the females that worked at the spa. Investigators were able to establish a pattern of the defendant picking up the females in her maroon Honda Odyssey minivan from the apartment and transporting them to the spa. The females indicated that they had responded to ads for masseuses and were trained by the defendant when they arrived in Maryland. During the course of the investigation, Detectives also interviewed several men leaving the spa who admitted to paying for and receiving illicit sex acts while inside the business. Several of those individuals identified the defendant as the owner/manager of the spa and the individual who controlled and received the payments. The defendant admitted to shutting down the spa for a week in April after she was tipped off by a client to the ongoing investigation. However, shortly thereafter she re-opened the spa and continued to operate it as a house of prostitution. During the investigation, $427,477 was seized that was tied to the proceeds from the spa as the defendant admitted that the spa was her only source of income. Pursuant to the plea, the defendant will forfeit a total of $377,477 to the Montgomery County Police Department.
The Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office served as special prosecutors in this case due to a conflict of interest in the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office. The State was represented by Frederick SAO Chief Counsel Joyce King and Assistant State’s Attorney Lindsey Carpenter.