The U.S. Attorney's office has indicted eleven people on money laundering charges, alleging they generated about $1.4 million through at least 10 illegal Korean-run brothels in or near the city.

The U.S. Attorney's office says the defendants were part of a ring that brought women from South Korea or other parts of the United States to New York, where they worked as prostitutes at a lengthy list of local establishments. These, according to a criminal complaint filed in Federal Court, include Asian Flower in Flatiron, Rainbow Spa in Midtown East, and Blue Angel in Midtown West. All were independently owned, but shared the same list of customers. Blue Angel was raided by the NYPD a year ago, and cops uncovered documents that tipped them off to the brothel ring's business practices.

Federal investigators later discovered that the ring members would trick young women into believing they were with immigration services, helping them obtain fake visas and sending them to the states. Some women were informed they'd be working as prostitutes, according to the complaint—they would be housed in rooms in the brothels and forced to turn over some of their earnings to cover room and board. Some of the women worked in various brothels, and were even specially requested by customers. Sexually explicit photographs of the women were used as advertising, and the defendants were allegedly tasked with making and disseminating those ads.

Each defendant has been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering; and one count of conspiracy to violate the Travel Act. They face a maximum of 5 to 25 years in prison if convicted.