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Woman Accused of Running Brothel Out of Sun City Massage Parlor

Last week, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office sent an undercover detective to a Sun City massage parlor. According to authorities, a masseuse offered the detective a lot more than a massage.

Deborah A. Schmidt, the owner of the massage parlor, is accused of running a brothel out of the business, reports. She was arrested Tuesday night and charged with maintaining a house of prostitution.

The MCSO launched the investigation after receiving a complaint that the massage parlor was doubling as a brothel. The undercover detective said that 25 minutes into his massage, the masseuse offered to perform a number of sex acts on him for prices ranging from $200 to $300, authorities said.

When questioned, two employees told investigators that Schmidt taught them how to set prices and received a cut of their profits. They also said that Schmidt acted as a prostitute herself.

Schmidt is accused of maintaining a house of prostitution among other charges. Under Arizona law, knowingly operating a house of prostitution is a class 5 felony, punishable by 6 months to 2 years in prison.

At the time of her arrest, Schmidt denied any knowledge of the sexual activity. That defense will be a hard sell, however, considering two employees have told authorities that Schmidt taught them how to set prices for each sexual act.

Schmidt is not only charged with maintaining a house of prostitution but also taking money from the alleged prostitutes. Under Arizona law, a person who knowingly receives money earned through prostitution is guilty of a class 5 felony. If convicted, Schmidt could face an additional 6 months to 2 years in prison.

Schmidt's employees will probably face charges as well. Under Arizona's criminal code, prostitution is a class 1 misdemeanor. It's punishable by a minimum of 15 days in jail, without the possibility of parole or a suspended sentence.

Ironically, the massage parlor operated in the same strip mall as the Christian youth group, Young Life. An "Out of Business" sign has since been posted on the door of the parlor.

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