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Unlikely Trio Brought Russian Babes to L.A. as Hookers

Photo by Bernd Juergens via Shutterstock
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If the Law & Order: SVU scribes were looking for some ripped-from-the-headlines inspiration, this case might be of interest: A man, his wife, and his ex-wife have been charged in a federal complaint for bringing Russian women to Los Angeles to work as prostitutes.

A nearly year-long investigation culminated in the charges of conspiracy to transport in furtherance of prostitution filed against Mher "Mike'' Hakopyan, 38; his wife Natalya Muravyeva, 31; and his ex-wife Alla Kassianova, 43, according to City News Service.

The unlikely trio stand accused of operating what's described as a large-scale prostitution ring that used recruiters in Eastern Europe to lure attractive women to the U.S. Those women were then schooled on entering the county via the Visa Waiver Program.

Once on U.S. soil, the ladies had their photos taken professionally so they could be posted on all sorts of websites catering to clientele seeking escorts, massages, and more. The federal complaint filed against the three suspects specifies 14 women who took part in this process.

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What tipped off investigators was when two Latvian women were intercepted last September at Los Angeles International Airport while attempting to enter the county on the Visa Waiver. Their travel arrangements had been made by Hakopyan, the investigation found. The two ladies were sent back to Moscow.

Hakopyan and Muravyeva were arrested Monday here in Los Angeles, but Kassianova is still on the lam, and authorities believe she may be out of the country.