Two women accused of human trafficking and running massage parlors that offered sexual services were found guilty on all charges Monday afternoon by a jury in Delaware County Common Pleas Court, but the third defendant was found not guilty.
Estella Xu, 55, of Pomona, California, and her sister, Qing Xu, 57, of Columbus, were both found guilty of 15 charges following a 10-day trial.
The jury, comprised of seven women and five men, began deliberations Friday afternoon and deliberated until close to 10 p.m. They resumed deliberations Monday morning and returned verdicts at about 2:30 p.m.
Estella and Qing were found guilty of:
• One count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a first-degree felony, with a specification that the defendant knowingly committed crimes that furthered human trafficking.
• Eight counts of promoting prostitution, a fourth-degree felony, also with an added specification for human trafficking. Authorities alleged that the women working at the massage parlors were providing sexual services for male clients.
• Three counts of money laundering, a third-degree felony.
A sentencing date of Oct. 16 at 10 a.m. was scheduled. Visiting Judge Joseph Timothy Campbell ordered a pre-sentence investigation and said he would preside over the sentencing hearing.
Estella and Qing’s attorneys, Daniel Sabol and Christopher Soon, said they would appeal the verdict but said they cannot file appeals until their clients have been sentenced.
Campbell also revoked Estella and Qing’s bonds and ordered deputies to take them into custody.
The third defendant in the case is Qing Xu’s husband. Xiaoshaung Chao, 57, was found not guilty on all charges and Campbell said that he would be taken back to the county jail, where he has been since his Jan. 14 arrest, processed and released.
Chao embraced his attorney, Scott Culbert, when the judge had finished reading the verdict.
The trio was accused of running three massage parlors in central Ohio that offered sexual services. Prosecutors said the workers of the massage parlors were victims of human trafficking and were forced to provide sexual pleasure to men during massages.
Defense attorneys said the workers and customers of the massage parlors were given immunity in exchange for their testimony.