By Diane Madigan
Independent Court Reporter
Four women who were arrested for allegedly keeping a house of prostitution in Van Buren Township, a felony, pleaded guilty to a lesser misdemeanor charge of knowingly loitering in a building while an illegal business was taking place.
They also pled guilty to working in a building that they knew had building violations.
All the prostitution charges were dropped in exchange for the guilty pleas.
Their guilty pleas were accepted and they were immediately sentenced by 34th District Court Judge David Parrott at a July 17 court session. He said fees and fines for each woman totaled $500 and he was unsure if additional fees for the state victim’s fund would be levied.
He said they could pay immediately or make arrangements for payments. If the fee wasn’t paid each could spend 30 days in jail.
The charges stem from a Feb. 20 police report concerning their massage business at Holistic Touch and Gifts, 41015 East Huron River Dr. The investigation was conducted by the VBT Police Special Investigation Unit led by Detective Derek Perez.
Since a Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor was not in the courtroom, each of the women’s attorneys asked them questions that led to a public confession and their guilty plea.
Seymour Schwartz was the attorney for Kimberly Ann Qualls, 35, of Newport and Lena Marie Worrell, 26, of Monroe. Qualls and Worrell confessed to working in the building knowing there was an illegal business going on there that was improperly licensed and had building violations. They said they kept working there after they became aware that there were license and building violations that weren’t taken care of.
They agreed with Schwartz that it was illegal because it wasn’t properly licensed and there were business violations.
Through questions from attorney Joseph Delaurentiis, Amanda Bianca Wolford, 35, of Wyandotte confessed to working at the building although she was aware there were certain building violations and the business was improperly licensed.
Answering attorney Steven Schwartz’s questions, Andrea Maria Romano, 36, of Westland also confessed she continued to work knowing there were building violations.
A bright-yellow VBT Building Department sticker was put on the front door of the business after the arrests, revoking the certificate of occupancy in accordance with Michigan Building code 110.4 which is used “…wherever the certificate is issued in error or on the basis of incorrect information supplied, or where it is determined that the building or structure or portion thereof is in violation of any ordinance or regulation or any of the provisions of this code.”
The yellow sticker remains on the door, but it has been partially torn off.
Qualls was the only defendant required to post bond, $5,000 or 10%, and her 90% refund on that would be applied to her fees. She was originally charged with Keeping House of Prostitution and Admitting to Place of Prostitution.
Worrell was out on personal bond on the original charges of Keeping House of Prostitution and Disorderly Person / Loitering in a House of Ill Fame.
Wolford and Romano were each arrested on charges of Keeping a House of Prostitution and Admitting to Place of Prostitution and both were out on personal bond.
A fifth suspect has moved from the area and a warrant remains active for her arrest.
In the weeks before the court session a big sign had been placed on the window of the vacant Holistic Touch and Gifts storefront that reads: “Note To: Customers: Due to Building Code we are closed @ This Location! Sorry for any Inconvience. Please Call Kim for Update, 734-658-1246”.
The sign remained in place as of Thursday, July 25.
By Diane Madigan