Orange County District Attorney Press Release
For Immediate Release, Case # 13HF3673: December 13, 2013
*Co-defendant charged in this case is a fugitive with a warrant out for her arrest
SANTA ANA – A man was arraigned today on charges of conspiracy to commit pimping and pandering by operating a brothel in Irvine and another in Torrance. Gao Yang Zhou, 34, Rowland Heights, is charged with 12 felony counts including three felony counts each of pimping, pandering, money laundering, and one felony count each of conspiracy to commit pimping, conspiracy to commit general pandering, conspiracy to commit money laundering, with a sentencing enhancement for money laundering over $50,000. If convicted on all charges, Zhou faces a maximum sentence of 11 years and eight months in state prison. The People requested Zhou be held on $500,000 bail at his arraignment today, and he must prove the money is from a legal and legitimate source before posting bond. He is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing Dec. 20, 2013, at 9:00 a.m. in Department H-1, Harbor Justice Center, Newport Beach.
Co-defendant Yuzhen Xie, 32, Rowland Heights, faces the same charges, enhancement, and maximum sentence as Zhou. Xie is currently a fugitive and a warrant is out for her arrest.
Between April 1, 2013, and Dec. 12, 2013, Zhou and Xie are accused of conspiracy to commit pimping, pandering, and money laundering. During this time, Zhou is accused of paying for website advertisements for prostitution. He is accused of traveling to Irvine and searching for an apartment.
On May 24, 2013, Xie is accused of signing a lease to an Irvine apartment on Alton Parkway, which Zhou is accused of turning into a residential brothel. They are accused of having Jane Doe #1, Jane Doe #2, and Jane Doe #3, two of them in their 30s, engage in commercial sex in exchange for money. Xie and Zhou are accused of maintaining numerous bank accounts where they deposited the money made by the victims in the brothel. Zhou is accused of maintaining multiple bank accounts to pay for expenses associated with the brothel including advertisements.
In early August 2013, Zhou is accused of paying for advertisements in the Torrance area on a website known for prostitution.
Between Aug. 13, 2013, and Aug. 22, 2013, Zhou is accused of operating a brothel in Torrance using rooms he rented at a hotel, Extended Stay America, and advertising prostitution services.
In early October 2013, Xie is accused of signing a lease for another Irvine apartment. Zhou is accused of setting up a residential brothel in that apartment. He is accused of monitoring regular surveillance of sex purchasers who frequented the brothel, acting as a pimp and setting up “dates” for the victim working inside.
On Dec. 11, 2013, undercover officers from the Irvine Police Department (IPD) contacted the brothel, which was already under investigation. IPD arrested Zhou that same day.
Deputy District Attorney Daniel Varon of the HEAT Unit is prosecuting this case. To learn more about the HEAT Unit, please visit www.orangecountyda.com and search for the press release titled, “OCDA to Put Their ‘HEAT’ on Slave-Owner Perps.”
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney 401 Civic Center Drive West Santa Ana, CA 92701