Police release new details in massage business investigation

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. -- St. Joseph County Police have released new details about the search warrants that were served at three area massage businesses as part of a human trafficking investigation.

The documents show police have been investigating human trafficking, prostitution and tax fraud in connection with massage businesses owned by James Belkiewitz for the past year and a half.

The investigation included surveillance at each location, trash pulls, anonymous tips workers were engaging in sexual acts, reports of human trafficking victims and reports the business was not paying sales tax.

Undercover officers went to the businesses for half hour massages. While receiving the massage, they were told of sexual services, ranging from $40 to $60, that could also be performed, reports said.

The undercover officers declined the additional services.

Undercover officers were offered sexual acts for cash on December 1, 2021, March 10, 2022 and June 6, 2022 at Top Oriental Massage, Best Chinese Massage and The Relax Spa, according to court records.

While pulling the trash from businesses on March 2 and March 9, 2021, investigators found instructional DVDs on performing oral sex, women's underwear and receipts from Flushing, New York, reports said.

Police said some of the workers were from Flushing or were taken there to wire money back to China - and were driven there by Belkiewitz.

Police were granted a search warrant for the businesses, Belkiewitz' home and his van.

  • At Best Oriental Massage on SR 23, investigators seized $2,995 in cash. There were 35 $1 bills, 12 $5 bills, 17 $10 bills, 89 $20 bills, 9 $50 bills and 5 $100 bills.
  • At Top Oriental Massage on N. Hickory Road, investigators seized $19,196 in cash. There were 6 $1 bills, 10 $2 bills, 4 $5 bills, 4 $10 bills, 563 $20 bills, 39 $50 bills and 59 $100 bills.
  • At The Relax Spa on S. Michigan Street, investigators seized $3,490 in cash. There were 75 $1 bills, 35 $5 bills, 26 $10 bills, 114 $20 bills, 2 $50 bills and 6 $100 bills.
  • At Belkiewitz’s residence on Buckhorn Drive, investigators seized $28,211 cash. There were 11 $1 bills, 4 $5 bills, 549 $20 bills, 2 $50 bills and 6 $100 bills.
  • In Belkiewitz's vehicle, police seized $3,600 in cash. There were 145 $20 bills, 2 $50 bills and 6 $100 bills.

The total amount of currency seized was $88,538.

Investigators spoke with some employees who confirmed sexual acts were offered for payment, reports said.

No charges have been filed.

On June 29, a St. Joseph County judge found probable cause to believe the $88,538 seized on June 20 were the proceeds of illegal activity.


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