CONCORD — The Exeter massage parlor owner accused of offering prostitution services in multiple locations will plead guilty to violating the federal Travel Act.
Ken Ma, owner of Oriental Body Works in Exeter, also known as Oakworks Body Therapy LLC, is scheduled to plead guilty Jan. 3 to one count of using his businesses to facilitate interstate prostitution. According to Ma’s plea agreement, had his case gone to trial, federal prosecutors would have provided evidence to support Ma’s involvement in running a prostitution ring.
This evidence included testimonies from the “exclusively” male customers who frequented Ma’s massage parlors in Plaistow, Salem and the Exeter location who stated they paid money to receive sexual favors from massage workers between March 1, 2015, and Nov. 7, 2017.
The agreement references advertisements Ma later admitted to investigators he posted on the adult personal ad hosting website Backpage.com before it was taken down by the federal government. Investigators said these advertisements were posted in Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire under the “massage,” “body rubs,” “adult entertainment” and “escorts” subsection of the website. The agreement states the advertisements referenced sexual activity and had sexually explicit images depicting female workers wearing little clothing. Investigators noted the Backpage’s servers were located outside of New Hampshire, making the investigation interstate.
After three massage parlors, including the Exeter location, and two residences owned by Ma or his wife were raided by federal authorities Nov. 7, 2017, Ma waved his Miranda Rights and spoke with investigators. In one of the residences in Haverhill, Massachusetts, federal authorities recovered 11 boxes of white sheets used to cover massage tables and plastic bags containing nearly 1,100 condoms, according to the plea agreement. Investigators also recovered a “significant” amount of cash hidden behind a wall wrapped in newspaper.
Ma admitted to investigators he made $900 to $1,000 each day and would deposit the money in bank accounts or stash it at his residences.
If convicted in trial, Ma would have faced five years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, supervised release for up to three years and an additional $100 assessment for each count of guilty convictions before the time of sentencing.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, Ma will serve four months in prison and be under supervised release for three years. He will also have to forfeit his 2017 Volvo XC90 SUV, nearly $190,000 in cash seized and the Plaistow massage parlor and agree to a restrictive covenant on the Exeter property.