£1M-A-YEAR BROTHEL BOSS JAILED
Dozens of hookers earned £100K plus £75,000 raked in every Friday night Sports stars and celebs were clients
A BUSINESSMAN who raked in more than a £1million a year through a brothel disguised as a Five-Star licensed massage parlour has been jailed.
Ross Lawson, 32, raked in £75,000 every Friday night offering X-rated services to a stream of wealthy clients including sports stars and showbiz celebritiesat the upmarket bordello.
Dozens of prostitutes earned up to £100,000 a year at the sex den, run under the noses of council chiefs in Camden, north London, as a legitimate health club.
Lawson got booze and massage licences from council for the Steam and Sun Health Club, and kept up to date with taxes and national insurance contributions.
But in fact, he operated an 18-hour-a-day brothel for seven years, offering as many as 27 prostitutes each night in private rooms with pole dancing and X-rated videos.
Lawson used the proceeds to pay off £8,000-a-month credit card bills, and to fund his and his family’s lavish lifestyle. He allegedly held up to 30 bank accounts, including an offshore account in Jersey.
When detectives raided the four-storey building in Somers Town, central London, in February last year, they found men and women having sex, 27 scantily-clad women, and £3,000 in cash in a jar on the bar.
Lawson, of St. Albans, Herts, the owner and manager of the brothel, was convicted at Blackfriars Crown Court of running a brothel and money laundering the profits.
Judge Peter Murphy jailed him for two years, but warned he would have faced a longer sentence if the prostitutes had not been working in such good conditions.
He said: “The Sun and Steam has been described as being as legitimate as could be as a criminal enterprise.
“It was in any view a remarkably successful one.
“I am in no position to try to calculate the profits, but they must have been very considerable, and supported an affluent lifestyle for yourself and members of your family.
“This is a case of a longstanding, well organised, and profitable business which turned over a great deal of money.”
The judge said many of the prostitutes interviewed by police had complimented Lawson’s style of running the brothel, running an expensive bar and legitimate sauna and steam rooms, and charging a 30 per cent credit card fee, but not taking any of the women’s earnings.
“You were not taking advantage of them in any way.” he said.
“It has been urged upon me that I could possibly suspend the sentence, but the scale of the enterprise renders that impossible. But I will say the sentence I pass will be a good deal less than it would have been because of the conditions I’ve referred to.”
The prosecutor told the court the brothel had an “absolutely staggering turnover”, with Lawson admitting himself the last ten months of business yielded £1.1million.
He said: “The scale of the operation was truly remarkable, and on the occasion of the raid there were 25 or so women working there.
‘The masseuses were described as busty, horny and energetic’
“I have no doubt that was true on many evenings.”
The club’s website boasted “international ladies”, VIP rooms and two penthouse suites, and billed itself as London’s “only Five-Star massage parlour”.
It boasted that “many celebrities and well known athletes” were clients, but made no mention of offering sex, though it described masseuses as “busty”, “horny” and “energetic”.
Internal emails from Lawson warned prostitutes to offer “a complete service” to customers, even if they were fat and ugly.