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Tuesday, January 19, 2010 — A suburban massage parlor owner and a female associate were arrested today on federal charges for allegedly conspiring to extort thousands of dollars from a female foreign national who worked at the massage parlor and was threatened in various ways.  The defendants, Alex A. Campbell and Danielle John, were arrested this morning by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents and Cook County Sheriff’s officers, announced Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Gary J. Hartwig, Special Agent-in-Charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Chicago; and Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart.  The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office is also participating in the investigation, which is continuing, they said.

Campbell, who is in his mid-40s, of Glenview, also known as “Dave” and “Daddy,” and John, 23, of Des Plaines, also known as “Princess,” were each charged with conspiracy to commit extortion and attempted extortion in a criminal complaint that was filed yesterday and unsealed today following their arrests.  Both defendants had initial court appearances today and remain in federal custody pending detention hearings on Friday, at 1:45 p.m. for John and 2:30 p.m. Campbell, before  Magistrate Judge Nan Nolan in U.S. District Court.

According to the complaint affidavit, the alleged extortion victim, identified as Victim 2,  came to the United States in 2007 and attended a massage therapy school in Chicago, where she met Campbell in the summer of 2008.  In November 2008, Victim 2 moved into an apartment with another woman, also an alleged victim, that Campbell owned, and both women began working at Campbell’s parlor, the Day and Night Spa on Northwest Highway in Mt. Prospect, which was among several locations where ICE agents and Sheriff’s officer executed search warrants today.

Victim 2 told investigators that other women who worked at the parlor had a tattoo of a horseshoe on their necks.  She also identified John as someone associated with Campbell.  The affidavit states that investigators have interviewed women who worked for Campbell and with John at the spa between approximately August 2008 and August 2009, and it describes various tattoos, some of which Campbell forced them to have applied.  

According to Victim 2, Campbell had told her that he could assist with her immigration status and documents and she paid him a total of approximately $13,000 from money she earned at the spa and money sent to her by her parents for his purported assistance.  In March 2009, Campbell allegedly told Victim 2 that she had to pay him —  initially, an additional $10,000 and later raised to $16,000 — or should would have to work at one of his massage parlors from opening to closing time seven days a week.  While completing payments on the $16,000 demand, Campbell allegedly demanded an additional $5,000 from Victim 2.     

Campbell allegedly verbally abused and threatened Victim 2, telling her he had a gun, and forced her to engage in sexual activity.  On one occasion, while working at the massage parlor, Campbell allegedly forced  Victim 2 and another woman engage in sexual activity with each other while he video recorded them on his cell phone.

Subsequently, Campbell alternately demanded that Victim 2 pay him or work at the Mt. Prospect spa, in addition to threatening to expose the pictures he had recorded of her on the Internet and to her parents, the charges allege.  Victim 2 began recording a series of conversations with Campbell and John between August and October 2009, including a meeting with John on Oct. 5, 2009, at which she allegedly gave John $1,500 to pass along to Campbell.    

The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Diane MacArthur and Steven Grimes, and John Richmond, a trial attorney with the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

Extortion conspiracy carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.  If convicted, however, the Court would impose a sentence it deems reasonable under the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.

The public is reminded that a complaint contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt.  The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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