HAMMOND — A 71-year-old Hobart accountant who patronized and later helped run a chain of brothels masquerading as massage parlors walked out of court Thursday a free man.
U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Van Bokkelen fined Edward C. Olszewski $3,500 and imposed three years probation on him. Since Olszewski already had served that much time under government supervision since his 2015 guilty plea, he was released on time served and won't have to live under future restrictions.
Two women convicted of human trafficking for helping supply sex workers for the illicit business aren't so lucky.
Crystal Wireman, 34, of Lake Station, will begin serving a two-year prison term next month. Rita Law, 59, of Chicago, who served as the business manager faces a 40-year stretch when she is sentenced Nov. 14.
Olszewski came to the federal courthouse in Hammond in business clothes and a tie. He said little.
His defense attorney Andrew M. Yoder, told the judge Olszewski played a lesser part in the crime and served as the government's star witness against the two women.
In addition Olszewski had led a relatively crime free life, obtained a bachelor's degree in business from Loyola University, has been a controller at a Chicago packaging firm, purchased a home in Indiana and quietly lived there for the past 25 years.
Yoder said Olszewski involvement in prostitution "was a dark moment at a time when his first wife was dying of brain cancer."
Court documents and government authorities indicate Olszewski first met Law in 2007 when he was a patron of the Duneland Spa on Broadway in Gary and the sex services offered there.
He became her accountant and chauffeur, periodically driving new prostitutes from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport to work at Northwest Indiana at spas to keep customer interest high.
Olszewski told authorities he soon found out he had to work for Law without pay. She threatened to expose his participation in prostitution otherwise.
Authorities stepped in five years ago after Gary Police raided Law's Gary spa and arrested an Asian masseuse who said she was forced into prostitution because her employers held her passport. The government learned Law recruited foreign women to her spas on promises of citizenship, marriage and employment.
Philip Coduti, a special agent for Homeland Security, traced property records of the spa to Olszewski who admitted he rented the building and began cooperating with the government.
Following further investigation, authorities arrested Wireman, who worked as a masseuse at Law's Gary and Hobart spas, around the same time Law was arrested in Hong Kong.
Olszewski became a government witness testifying over two days of a nearly month-long jury trial that ended in convictions for Law and Wireman.
Yoder said Olszewski helped the government despite fears of retaliation from Law and her friends and financial backers.
However, Van Bokkelen had no glowing words for Olszewski, who he said was guilty of an assault on human dignity.
"It was a wretched crime and you were in the middle of it. You have done a harm with very light consequences. You will go home tonight and get to sleep in your own bed," the judge said.
Van Bokkelen delayed Law's sentencing, which also was scheduled for this week.
Law's attorney, Gal Pissetzky, argued last month Law's mental capacities have diminished since her conviction 18 months ago. Pissetzky informed the court he has hired a doctor to examine Law and Pissetzky may make further requests of the court with regard to her fitness to be sentenced.