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7th suspected brothel owner arrested

The owner of two Spokane businesses suspected of being prostitution fronts was released from jail Thursday after being arrested Wednesday.

William R. Westover, 41, faces money laundering and promoting prostitution charges after a 14-month investigation culminated in raids at eight suspected brothels.

Westover owns the Far East Oriental Spa, 213 E. Sprague Ave., and the Asian Spa, 3130 N. Division St. Investigators with the Airway Heights Police Department developed confidential informants after a prostitution sting at Northern Quest Casino.

One of those informants applied for jobs with Westover and told detectives he had her display her naked breasts. Another informant said she gave Westover a massage and had sex with him, accepted payment, then declined his job offer.

Also, according to court documents, "during an interview with a confidential informant, Westover told the confidential informant that she could use a condom for a client the first time she saw the client but was not permitted after that."

Police reviewed Westover's bank records and found he'd made 41 large deposits between January 2010 and April 2012 totally $165,000.

Six people connected to five other suspected brothels were released from jail Wednesday.

Suspected brothel owners released

Five women and one man arrested in a sweeping anti-prostitution investigation at Spokane-area spas and massage parlors have been released from jail.

The suspects, who own four of eight suspected brothels raided Tuesday, have no criminal records and were allowed to leave without posting bond. Prosecutors did not object to their release, and they were ordered to return to court July 23 to be arraigned on charges of second-degree promoting prostitution and money laundering

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

July 10: Eight suspected brothels raided in Spokane

Suspected area sex houses raided

Eight suspected brothels, including the Oriental Spa South at 515 S. Maple Ave., were raided across the Spokane area Tuesday by a multi-agency law enforcement task force. (SRphoto/Colin Mulvany)

A yearlong investigation into widespread prostitution in Spokane County culminated Tuesday with raids at eight suspected brothels in what authorities say is an attempt to permanently close the longtime businesses.

Complaints from Northern Quest Casino officials about prostitution activity prompted the Airway Heights Police Department to conduct undercover strings of suspected prostitutes who in turn agreed to work as confidential informants.

Read the rest of my story here.

Man stole $24k from 2 Spokane charities

A former treasurer for two Spokane charities who became involved with a cash-strapped woman he met at a spa has been ordered to repay $24,000 after pleading guilty to felony theft.

Curtis G. Wasson, 59, pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree theft last week for embezzling from the North Lions Club and the Hillyard chapter of the Knights of Columbus. Along with restitution, he was credited for one day served in jail.

The North Lions Club is a non-profit group that helps people with vision or hearing impairments. Wasson had been the treasurer for at least 10 years. Group members began investigating Wasson after a donation check to a Spokane high school student who was volunteering with hurricane relief assistance bounced and the student was charged overdraft fees. Police believe Wasson stole about $18,000 from the group beginning in 2004.

Wasson also stole about $6,000 from the Knights of Columbus, a charity for the sick and disabled.

The group was due for an audit in February 2009, but Wasson, a self-employed tax accountant, delayed it, saying he was too busy. Washington Trust Bank advised group members of unusual activity in their account two months later.

Wasson wrote several unauthorized checks at grocery stores and also cashed 20 unauthorized checks between November 2008 and April 2009. He also wrote checks to Brandie Meyers, who police believe was desperate for cash to pay her child custody attorney.

Meyers told police she met Wasson while working at Suzi's Spa. She said she "provided Wasson with girls when he requested it" and that he paid her in exchange, and that he also helped her with money for her attorney.

Wasson later told police he paid Meyers for sex but that she used photographs and recordings to extort him. Records show Wasson and his wife of 27 years are divorcing.