Town of Palm Beach News

Patriot’s Owner Charged With Soliciting Prostitutes

Owner of the New England Patriots and part-time Palm Beach resident Robert Kraft is among those facing charges for soliciting prostitutes, as first reported by the Palm Beach Daily News. The billionaire has long ties to Palm Beach County, including an apartment at The Breakers and a close friendship with President Donald Trump.

According to Jupiter police, Kraft visited the Orchids of Asia Day Spa where he paid for a woman to perform a sex act on him. This visit occurred less than two weeks before his New England Patriots won their sixth Super Bowl.

The spa, which Kraft has visited twice to pay for sex acts, has ties to an international human-trafficking and prostitution ring according to Jupiter police. 

Jupiter police Chief Daniel Kerr announced Friday that Kraft is one of 25 men facing charges of soliciting prostitutes at the spa. Those facing charges range in age from 29 to 84.

These men visited Orchids of Asia between Jan. 18 and Jan. 22, the period during which Jupiter police received a warrant to set up surveillance cameras that captured incriminating footage of Kraft and the other men.

“We’re as equally stunned as everyone else,” Kerr said of Kraft’s alleged involvement.

The NFL released a statement saying the league was aware of the incident. A spokesperson for Kraft denied “that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity.”

Similar charges are being pursued by Martin County authorities at four day spas between Hobe Sound and Stuart. About 100 more men allegedly paid women, some of whom were being trafficked, for sex acts. Nine men were arrested Thursday, bringing the three-day total in Martin County to 35.  

Patriot’s Owner Charged With Soliciting Prostitutes

These arrests are unlike other prostitution busts because Jupiter police say that Orchids of Asia and the other spas were treating their employees in a way that meets the definition of human trafficking: soliciting, recruiting, or harboring another person to exploit him or her for labor, domestic servitude, or sexual exploitation.

According to authorities, many of the women came to the United States from China believing they had legitimate jobs in the spas, only to be forced work in the sex trade instead, often being confined to the storefronts, eating and sleeping there when not working. 

Neither Kraft nor the other 24 men named in the bust had been officially charged with soliciting a prostitute as of Friday. The Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office will decide “in a timely fashion” whether to proceed with the cases, including Kraft’s.

The crime of soliciting a prostitute is considered a second-degree misdemeanor for a first offense, and carries a jail term of up to 60 days, according to Florida statutes. The offense is not subject to extradition, so Kraft, who resides in Massachusetts, and other out of state residents, will not be subject to arrest unless they return to Florida.

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The issue in this case, West Palm Beach attorney Valentin Rodriquez, who has handled prostitution defendants for years, said, is whether of any of the men were aware of the trafficking ring.

The owner and manager of Orchid Day Spa were arrested early last week after a months-long investigation. Hua Zhang and Lei Wang face charges including maintaining a house of ill fame and depriving profits from prostitution. 

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Alanna Barrett

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