Springfield man charged with operating six "houses of prostitution"

A Springfield man owned or rented six “houses of prostitution” in Springfield in which Asian women – some traveling from other countries – provided sexual services in exchange for free food, lodging and incomes of up to $30,000 per month.
click to enlarge Springfield man charged with operating six "houses of prostitution"
Gregory Fraase was arrested Feb. 8 by the U.S. Marshal Service and spent four days in the Macon County Jail before being released on his own recognizance. He has since been indicted by a federal grand jury.

Those were some of the allegations aimed at Gregory L. Fraase, 60, in legal documents made public March 6 by Magistrate Judge Karen McNaught after a federal grand jury indicted him and Jia Liu, a Chinese female, on federal conspiracy charges.

Fraase is quoted in a court transcript of a recorded call with a confidential witness Aug. 23, 2023, that the potential of earning $30,000 in one month, mostly in tips, made young women from impoverished backgrounds “all wanna work” in his establishments.

“They’re making a lifetime’s worth of money in a month,” Fraase was quoted as saying.

Fraase, who was released on his own recognizance after his arrest Feb. 8, has pleaded not guilty and has declined comment through one of his attorneys, Daniel Fultz.

Liu, whose age, address and whereabouts were unavailable, allegedly operated the prostitution sites in cooperation with Fraase. She hasn’t yet appeared in court.

Fraase and Liu could face maximum prison terms of five years on the single conspiracy count against each of them. Fraase could face an additional five years for one count of marriage fraud.

The indictment says Fraase married Weiwei Hu of China, and was paid at least $20,000 to do so, as Fraase evaded U.S. immigration laws to help her gain American citizenship. The woman now lives in New York, according to court documents.

After his arrest, Fraase told law enforcement officials that he is “supposed to be paid another $20,000” once Weiwei Hu receives her green card from American immigration authorities.

“He further acknowledged that she did not live with him but claimed that he loved her,” the criminal complaint stated.

An initial pretrial conference in the case was scheduled for June 20 in Springfield’s U.S. District Court, with a tentative trial date set for July 2.

Officials from the office of Gregory Harris, U.S. attorney for the Central District of Illinois, didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The alleged scheme generated more than $800,000 for Fraase between July 2020 and February 2024, according to the grand jury indictment filed March 7 and an initial criminal complaint filed Feb. 9.

Fraase, the brother of Republican Sangamon County Board member Harry “Tom” Fraase Jr., was arrested Feb. 8 by U.S. marshals while he was driving to work at the Sangamon County Water Reclamation District.

Gregory Fraase has worked for the district 22 years and currently earns $98,134 per year as a pretreatment coordinator.

Fraase continues to be employed by the district, according to Executive Director Gregg Humphrey, who told IT, “There’s no indication any wrongdoing was done on district time or with district equipment.”

It’s unclear whether other people will be charged as part of the investigation.

FBI Special Agent William S. Henry V, who participated in the investigation, said in an affidavit filed in court that he is part of a joint federal and local task force investigating violations of federal law committed by public officials in central Illinois.

His statement doesn’t mention or refer to any specific public officials. He said FBI agents in August 2022 “began an investigation into Fraase based on allegations that Fraase and unknown others were operating houses of prostitution fronting as Asian massage parlors in the Central District of Illinois.”

Henry quoted a confidential witness as saying Fraase “operated multiple massage parlors and was able to get through the ‘red tape’ of opening the establishments because of his business partners.”

click to enlarge Springfield man charged with operating six "houses of prostitution"
A confidential informant was offered a "hand job for $60 or sex for $260" at Healthy Spa, 613 N. Seventh St.
The affidavit said that as of Feb. 6, Ameren records indicated Fraase was paying utilities at six Springfield locations under GLF Group LLC, for which Illinois Secretary of State records list him as a manager.

All of them are labeled as alleged prostitution sites: Cozy Cabin Spa, 1144 E. Sangamon Ave.; Jade Spa, 1560 Wabash Ave.; Capital Spa, 3915 N. Dirksen Parkway; Warm Spa, 116 North Grand Ave. E.; A-1 Spa, 509 N. Dawson St.; and Healthy Spa, 613 N. Seventh St.

Another business that Fraase is associated with, Seven Carpenters LLC, owns parcels upon which three of the massage parlors sit.

A confidential source working with the Springfield Police department visited four of the sites on Jan. 3 requesting legal massages but was offered sexual services at three, according to the affidavit.
click to enlarge Springfield man charged with operating six "houses of prostitution"
Warm Spa , 116 North Grand Ave. E., was one of six alleged houses of prostitution named in federal court documents.

The source was offered “a hand job for $40 and oral sex for $100 at Cozy Cabin Spa,” a “hand job for $60 and sex for $260 at Healthy Spa” and a “hand job for $60 and oral sex for $60 at Jade Spa,” according to the document.

The source wasn’t offered sexual services at Capital Spa. But during an FBI raid of the establishment Feb. 8, agents found condoms, more than $1,700 in cash and Mandarin instructions on how to communicate sexual services to customers, the document said.

When FBI agents raided all six sites that day, they found “large amounts of U.S. currency secreted throughout the locations, women who were dressed in lingerie or were otherwise scantily clad, large amounts (of) condoms, both used and unused, and other indicia of sexual services taking place at the locations.”

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