Fitness Club Shut Down after Prostitution Ring Sting

The Burlington Fitness Center in Burlington, MA, was shut down permanently Monday by local officials following a prostitution sting at the club last week.

The cease and desist court order from the town’s building inspector, in cooperation with the Burlington Police Department, cites the business activity at the club as adult entertainment and/or sexual conduct for a fee, both of which are not allowed under the town’s bylaws, The Burlington Union reported.

According to a Burlington Police Department press release obtained by Club Industry, the Burlington Police Vice/Narcotics Unit and Burlington detectives conducted the prostitution ring last Thursday at the club. The police department had received numerous reports that the business was providing sexual conduct for a fee while advertising as a massage spa. The investigation resulted in the club being shut down for three months beginning in September 2011, the newspaper reported.

Rui Qin Ma of Flushing, NY, was arrested Thursday and was charged with two misdemeanors, offering sexual conduct for a fee and unlicensed massage. Upon arraignment on Friday, a not guilty plea was automatically entered for her, and the case will be continued on Dec. 14, the newspaper reported. Police determined that none of the three other females identified at the location were licensed in the state of Massachusetts to provide massages, according to the press release.

A special permit application for massage therapy was approved by the town’s planning board in June 2011, the newspaper reported. Ron Keplin, one of the applicant’s representatives, told the board that he worked with a local hospital and that the massage therapy was a new venture. The newspaper checked with the local hospital, which found no record of Keplin working with it.