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Prostitution charge amended down for former massage parlor employee

Crime Watch

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IDAHO FALLS– A 53-year-old Idaho Falls woman initially charged with prostitution, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge on Thursday.

As a part of a plea agreement, Ling Liu Qui’s original charge of misdemeanor prostitution was amended down to operating without a business license, which she admitted to doing.

Qui was arrested in December at Asian Massage at 1510 West Broadway after court documents show a Bonneville County Sheriff’s deputy went into the business undercover for a massage. During the session, Qui allegedly offered to perform a sex act on the deputy for an extra $40.

When asked about the plea, both prosecutors and the defense attorney said there were some concerns with the case.

Qui’s attorney Kelly Mallard says there were some evidentiary issues with the case. He says a recording of the interaction was provided, but it was hard to determine what was actually going on.

RELATED: Idaho Falls woman arrested for prostitution at massage parlor

“The only dialogue or conversation you can hear on it is initially negotiating for the massage … you know … so much money for the 30 minutes then there’s nothing else, nothing else heard,” Mallard says. “He doesn’t speak Chinese she doesn’t speak English so who knows.”

Mallard believed prosecutors would have issues trying to prove she solicited a sexual act. There were also no other witnesses. Mallard says only the detective and defendant were present during the interaction.

Chief Deputy Prosecutor John Dewey said the state was still able to achieve its goal.

“There were some proof issues and that took part in how this case was resolved. There were also questions about how large a role the defendant had in prostitution allegedly occurring at that location. That being said, the plea agreement achieved our goal of imposing some criminal liability on the defendant for her wrongdoing,” Dewey says.

Dewey said the initial investigation into Asian Massage was to discover any possible human trafficking or prostitution occurring at the location and put an end to it. Although the business is no longer in operation, Dewey says no evidence of human trafficking was found.

Qui was absent during the hearing as she’s out of state undergoing medical treatment.

“She has been diagnosed with cancer and she is in New York having surgery,” Mallard says.

Judge Mark Riddoch gave Qui 30 days suspended jail time and waived her fines. She will be required to pay court costs.