Apple Massage sits in the 28000 block of Pacific Highway South in Federal Way, as seen May 9. ALEX BRUELL, Sound Publishing

Apple Massage sits in the 28000 block of Pacific Highway South in Federal Way, as seen May 9. ALEX BRUELL, Sound Publishing

Duo charged with promoting prostitution at King County massage businesses

The massage fronts include a location in Federal Way.

A pair of King County residents have been charged with promoting prostitution and operating nearly a dozen Washington state massage businesses as fronts, including one in north Federal Way.

The defendants, 47-year-old Gerald “Jerry” Emtage and 51-year-old Jing Emtage, are both charged with leading organized crime, money laundering and 10 counts of promoting prostitution in the second-degree. They were taken into police custody May 2.

“Over the course of two years, Gerald and Jing Emtage owned and operated an extensive criminal enterprise spanning four counties in Washington State and it appears that they may have been planning to expand their business to other states,” King County prosecutors allege in court documents. “During that time [they made] significant profits from the commercial sexual exploitation of dozens of women.”

Furthermore, prosecutors say: “While the victims slept and ate in the same buildings where they were required to provide sexual services to strange men, the defendants were living in a home valued at over a million dollars. While the defendants funneled over a million dollars through their bank accounts and hid hundreds of thousands of dollars in their home, there are no state records of any wages paid to their victims.”

The investigation began in January 2021 when a citizen complained to the King County Sheriff’s Office about a massage storefront in Seattle called Element Massage, according to charging documents. That business was owned by “J&J Relax Spa LLC,” which in turn was owned by the Emtages, according to police. Twelve total known massage businesses were operated under J&J.

The Federal Way location, “Apple Massage,” is in the 28700 block of Pacific Highway South. The 432-square-foot wood frame building, and the 12,000 square foot property it sits on, were bought in late 2022 by “J&J 28707 LLC,” which still currently owns it, according to King County property records.

According to the Secretary of State’s website, Gerald Emtage is the governor of J&J 28707 LLC, which was formed Oct. 27, 2022 — about two weeks before the company bought the property.

The building was previously a rock chip car repair store, a barbershop and a clothing store, based on historical photographs from Google Images.

According to police, undercover detectives entered the J&J storefronts and posed as customers, paying for regular, non-sexual massages, according to charging documents. During those undercover operations, an “offer and agreement for a sexual act(s) was verbally agreed upon for an additional fee or ‘tip’ then declined by the detectives,” according to police. During each visit, they were offered sex acts in exchange for a fee.

A building owner also reported to law enforcement that she had discovered the Emtages had built an unpermitted wall at one of the businesses to create an apartment with a kitchen, bathroom, shower and bedroom. Detectives further obtained evidence that the women working in those businesses resided there.

Furthermore, police saw Jing Emtage take women from one business to another, including taking one woman directly from Sea-Tac Airport to a massage business in Burlington. A seizure of Jing Emtage’s phone by Customs and Border Protection turned up extensive conversations about the storefronts, police said, which included discussions about collecting money, delivering condoms and moving workers around.

Other location of massage parlors listed in the charging documents include three in Burien as well as businesses in Richland and Everett.

Detectives covertly followed the Emtages on a trip to Hawaii in April, working with local police there to track them as they visited a storefront massage business in Honolulu. On an undercover visit to that business, a woman who spoke little English offered sex acts to a detective, who declined, according to police.

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Northwest

Nicholas gets nearly 46 years for Federal Way murder of Sarah Yarborough

‘There will be accountability, no matter how many years it takes,’ judge said in court

A memorial at Stars Bar & Grill includes photos, cards, flowers and trinkets set in reverence of Jessyca Hohn and Katie Duhnke, who were killed just outside the bar May 21. Alex Bruell / The Mirror
Federal Way bar fatal shootings suspect identified; bartenders honored

Stars Bar & Grill customers celebrate lives of Jessyca Hohn and Katie Duhnke

Auburn Police arrest 2 juveniles in Oregon for fatal shooting

Pair caught day after May 30 shooting in Auburn

Court denies use of tattoos, prior cases as evidence in Auburn cop’s trial

Jeffrey Nelson is the first officer in state to face a murder charge since the passage of I-940.

File Photo
Renton first responders ‘endangered’ at illegal street race in Kent

Both the fire chief and the firefighters union issued statements regarding the May 21 incident.

Decatur High School senior and “American Idol” contestant Iam Tongi sits at home on March 1. His father Rodney spent a bonus from his job as an electrician to buy Iam’s guitar. Alex Bruell / The Mirror
It’s Iam: Federal Way student wins ‘American Idol’

The city of Federal Way is planning a celebration to honor the Decatur High student’s victory

King County Crime Dive podcast.
‘One-person crime wave’ sentenced for ghost gun and fentanyl | King County Crime Dive podcast

Also in this episode, a 17-year-old boy is injured while “surfing” on a vehicle.

Heavy traffic northbound on 1-5 in Everett, Washington on August 31, 2022. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Go early or late to beat Memorial Day weekend traffic

AAA projects busy airports, ferries and roads over the holiday weekend this year, though still below pre-pandemic counts.

Flowers and candles are left by the door of the Stars Bar & Grill in Federal Way, where two employees were shot and killed early Sunday morning, May 21. A third man was shot and taken to a hospital. ALEX BRUELL, Sound Publishing
2 employees killed, 1 customer injured at Federal Way bar shooting

Police looking for suspect in May 21 shooting at Stars Bar & Grill at 31216 Pacific Highway S.

Police lights (File photo)
Police investigating death of teenager in Renton

The 17-year-old was found with multiple gunshot wounds on May 6.

State Patrol uses aircraft to make traffic arrests in South King County

Crackdown on illegal street racing and vehicles fleeing from traffic stops

King County Crime Dive podcast.
Local member of Proud Boys is convicted | Podcast

A Washington, D.C., jury convicted an Auburn man and three other Proud Boys members of a plot to attack the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.