Update: Delay in Spa-for-Prostitution Sentencing

By: WOWT Email
By: WOWT Email

Posted January 7, 2013

There has been a delay in the sentencing of a woman who admitted her role in a conspiracy -- where spas in Omaha turned out to be a front for prostitution.

Last September, Kimberly Bivens made the plea in federal court. As part of the initial agreement, she agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

Conspiracy carries a maximum of five years in prison.

It's not clear when the sentencing will be rescheduled.

Posted September 6, 2012

A spa owner accused of running a house of prostitution instead of a massage parlor says she won't testify against the other suspects.

Last month, Kimberly Bivens admitted her role in a conspiracy outlined by investigators where her spas were fronts for prostitution.

The possibility was raised that she could testify against the other four arrested.

Kim Bivens tells Channel 6 Fact Finders on the phone, "I'm definitely not testifying against anyone. I admitted my involvement and that is it. There is nothing to testify against them on."

As part of the plea agreement with the Justice Department, she has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

Depending on what she provides, her sentence could be reduced.

Conspiracy comes with a maximum of 5 years in federal prison.

Posted September 3, 2012

A spa owner accused of running a house of prostitution in a massage parlor is expected to testify against the other suspects.

On Wednesday, four others accused in the conspiracy by the FBI will get a status check in federal court. Their lawyers will meet with a judge looking into pre-trial housekeeping issues.

Kimberly Bivens, 45, won't be there. She recently admitted to her role in the conspiracy as a spa owner and in exchange for the testimony, she may receive a lighter sentence.

Channel Six News Fact Finders first broke the story in February of a four-year investigation by Omaha police and the FBI into three Omaha spas that were believed to be fronts for prostitution.

A confidential informant spent more than $2,000 on 13 trips to the spas from January - May 2011 to help build the case.

In court documents, he outlined how the "spa owner videotaped new clients to ensure that law enforcement did not try to set them up."

After he took care of himself, the informant alleges, the girls took care of him on future visits with more than just a typical massage.

One worker told him: "...if all they did was massage, the customers would leave disappointed."

The indictment said the 93rd and Maple location had a client list of more than 1,000. Sources said it included some prominent people.

William Knox is accused of money laundering and promoting prostitution.

Tammy Schuck and her daughter Tabatha Ashburn are also accused in the conspiracy.

Christopher Tierney is accused of setting up a website and computerized record system.

The informant said the database: "...could be shut down with just a phone call if police attempted to access the records."

Kim Bivens -- the one who took the deal -- understands that by admitting her three spas were fronts for prostitution she could get up to five years in prison.

The U.S. Attorney says it's not yet clear whether her cooperation against the others facing federal charges will lead to a lighter sentence.

Bivens will be sentenced in January at the Hruska Federal Building.

No trial dates are yet set for those she will testify against.

It also seems clear from the experts that the list of clients won't be released. There's no way to verify if they used real or fake names.

Posted May 9, 2012

Four people charged in the spa prostitution case were in Federal Court in Omaha Wednesday afternoon. They appeared before Judge Thomas Thalken for their arraignment.

Channel Six News Fact Finders first uncovered the FBI investigation into the Omaha spa. Raids at 93rd and Maple and two others last fall led to the indictments. Sources say the FBI seized thousands of pages of records from these spas and those include client lists. A former employee says the customers included prominent individuals.

Sixty-three-year-old William "Randy" Knox of Omaha allegedly operated and sublet the spa at 93rd and Maple. He is charged with eight counts, including money laundering, and promoting prostitution across state lines. Wednesday, along side his attorney, Stu Dornan, Knox pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Knox, who was busted 16 years ago for promoting prostitution, allegedly leased the spa to 41-year-old Tammy Schuck, who moved out and opened two other spas, also allegedly fronts for prostitution. Schuck and her 22-year-old daughter Tabatha Ashburn, also face eight charges for managing the spas.

Thirty-one-year-old Christopher Tierney is accused of setting up a website and creating a computerized record system for the spas. He, too, faces eight charges.

Tierney, Schuck, and Ashburn, all pleaded not guilty to all their charges as well.

The four defendants have been told they are not allowed to have contact with each other, or any victims or witnesses in the case. The judge revised that for Schuck and Ashburn, so they can have contact as mother/daughter, but they are not to talk about the case.

Investigators allege the conspiracy dates back to 1998.

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