HAMMOND | To keep the faces fresh and the customers interested, operators of a prostitution business imported and rotated women in and out their region-based spas on a regular basis, federal court documents unsealed this week allege.
A Chicago woman and Hobart man are charged with operating the prostitution business, allegedly importing women from Asia and other countries to service customers in local spas.
But Rita Law, 55, of Chicago, filed for a dismissal of the case in Hammond federal court Friday, arguing U.S. authorities violated an international agreement in her extradition from Hong Kong last year.
Law is charged with two counts of human trafficking and servitude and one count of transporting for the purpose of prostitution. Edward Olszewski, of Hobart, is charged with one count of transporting for the purpose of prostitution.
Federal records indicate an investigation began Sept. 3 after an Asian woman was arrested on prostitution charges and could not produce her foreign passport. The arrest occurred during a police sting operation at Duneland Spa, 3549 Broadway, Gary. Federal prosecutors allege Law, with accounting and other help from Olszewski, was running the business.
Federal records also indicate Olszewski was a customer at the spa, which is how he met Law in 2007.
During an Oct. 2 interview with authorities, Olszewski admitted he helped Law get the lease for Duneland Spa as well as the Fun Fun Feet spa in Hobart, a criminal complaint states. Law also ran another Duneland Spa in Lake Station between 2007 and 2010, court records state.
Olszewski told authorities he also would assist Law in going to a Chicago airport to pick up or drop off employees — of both Asian and Hispanic nationalities — who would fly in from the East Coast or Washington for purposes of prostitution, court records state.
"Olszewski also stated that Law had said that in order to keep the business going, they had to change the employees every so often," the criminal complaint states. "Olszewski transported the women to and from, sometimes multiple times, the airport, so they could keep the customers interested in the women, who were engaged in prostitution."
Court records filed Friday by Law's attorney indicate she was arrested Oct. 18 in Hong Kong, following the issuance of a federal warrant. Law signed a consent to surrender to U.S. authorities Oct. 25 to return to the United States for the charges of "transporting for prostitution," her Friday filings state.
However, Law wasn't indicted on the charges of three trafficking and prostitution charges until Wednesday.
Because "new, different and elevated charges" were brought against Law after her extradition, the government violated an international agreement and should be dismissed, the Friday court filings argue.