Crime & Courts

Operator of Lawrence, Topeka massage parlor prostitution ring sentenced to probation

A woman who admitted to running a prostitution ring through massage parlors in Lawrence and Topeka was sentenced Wednesday to three years of probation and a $650,000 fine.

Weiling Nielsen, 54, and her husband Erik Nielsen were indicted by a federal grand jury last year on two counts of conspiracy, two counts of bank fraud, five counts of laundering and one count of racketeering.

The couple owned Naima Asian Massage and Serenity Health Spa in Lawrence as well as Jasmine Massage in Topeka.

As part of a plea agreement Weiling Nielsen pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy in February. The other charges, as well as the charges against her husband, were dismissed.

According to prosecutors, Nielsen admitted that her massage parlors provided sexual services to customers who paid in cash. The money made from those transactions was deposited in multiple bank accounts the couple set up in California.

The $650,000 fine, prosecutors said, represents the proceeds from the prostitution business. However, the indictment filed in 2018 alleges that the couple deposited over $2 million in bank accounts between 2009 and 2017.

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Katie Bernard covers Kansas crime, cops and courts for the Kansas City Star. She joined the Star in May of 2019. Katie studied journalism and political science at the University of Kansas.