A man was sentenced Monday to two years and nine months in prison for making and selling fake massage therapy training certificates so they could be used in several New Jersey massages parlors that engaged in prostitution, federal prosecutors said.
Naresh Rane, 68, of Tewksbury, previously pleaded guilty to knowingly and intentionally using and causing use of facilities in interstate commerce or to promote, manage, establish, carry on, and facilitate the business of prostitution, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger said in a statement.
Rane owned and operated Axiom Healthcare Academy, which billed itself as a business that provided classes in massage therapy training, Sellinger said. For a fee that ranged from $1,000 to $2,600, Rane claimed he could provide massage therapy training certificates to anyone who wished to obtain a massage license without the required training and was also willing to provide phony transcripts listing classes and grades.
Between November 2013 and March 2014, Rane provided 10 fraudulent massage therapy training certificates and transcripts to former Westwood Councilman Robert W. Miller who then gave them to prostitutes working in different massage parlors located in Union, Passaic, Hudson and Middlesex counties.
Miller pleaded guilty in federal court in February 2016 to a charge of promoting prostitution, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
According to court filings, Miller created at least 50 phony certificates claiming that individuals met the certification requirements to be licensed massage therapists. He sold them for $500 to $2,500, records said.
The former councilman and his wife were found dead in their home in July of 2016, and authorities said the deaths appeared to be a double suicide.
Miller, who was a Westwood councilman for seven years until 2015 and also was a councilman in Ridgewood from 1996 to 1998, was facing up to two years in prison after pleading guilty.
Rane admitted Monday that he knew the documents he was producing and selling were used to disguise prostitution activities as legitimate massage services, Sellinger said.
In addition to the prison term, a federal judge sentenced Rane to three years of supervised release.
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Chris Sheldon may be reached at [email protected].