[Stop-traffic] News/US: Japanese ringleader of nude-model Internet to be a...

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Subject: [Stop-traffic] News/US: Japanese ringleader of nude-model Internet to be a...
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Tue Jan 02 2001 - 09:27:14 EST


          Japanese ringleader of nude-model Internet to be a...

  The Associated Press.

    LOS ANGELES, Nov. 29 (Kyodo) -- A Japanese national, who is accused of
leading a ring that smuggled Japanese women into the United States to work
as nude models on the Internet, is scheduled for arraignment in Honolulu
next week.
    Takao Asayama was earlier arrested in California, where he lives on a
part-time basis, and faces charges of conspiring to encourage aliens to
reside illegally in the U.S., according to federal prosecutors.
    Asayama, currently out on bail, is scheduled to make an initial
appearance Dec. 7 in a federal court in Hawaii, said Assistant U.S.
Attorney Omer Poirier.
    Asayama is the fifth person to be charged in the smuggling ring. Earlier
this year, 12 others were arrested, including four models and 38-year-old
Akira Sekimoto, who headed the Honolulu arm of the business.
    On Tuesday, Sekimoto was sentenced to 28 months in a federal prison and
three years of supervised release after pleading guilty in April to charges
of conspiracy and money laundering. He is also expected to pay a $3,000
fine within two months of his release.
    At the sentencing, Sekimoto claimed that Asayama approached him to run
the business in Hawaii, which was operated out of a home.
    While the business itself was not considered illegal, using models who
were not legally able to work in the country was.
    The four models, who were initially arrested, were each fined $40 and
sentenced to six months of unsupervised probation.

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