|For Immediate Release
Case # 11HF0768
July 18, 2012
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
MAN SENTENCED FOR IMPERSONATING POLICE OFFICER AND DEMANDING MASSAGE AND CASH DURING FAKE MASSAGE PARLOR INSPECTION
SANTA ANA – A man was convicted and sentenced today for impersonating a police officer and demanding a massage and $200 while pretending to perform a business inspection of a massage parlor. Edward Justin LaPorte, 48, Mission Viejo, pleaded guilty to a court offer to one felony count of second degree commercial burglary, two misdemeanor counts of misrepresenting oneself as a peace officer, and one felony count each of having a concealed firearm on a defendant’s person, and carrying a loaded firearm in public. LaPorte was sentenced to six months in jail and three years formal probation over the objection of the People, who advocated for one year in jail.
LaPorte was a police officer with the Arlington Heights Police Department in Illinois from 1997 to 2001 and had worked as an officer with the North Chicago Police Department for several years prior to that time. LaPorte moved to California after leaving the police force.
At approximately 12:00 p.m. on Jan. 31, 2011, LaPorte entered Golden Spa massage parlor in Lake Forest wearing a silver police badge on his belt and carrying a firearm in a shoulder holster. He told the manager that he was investigating the parlor due to a recent complaint.
LaPorte walked around the massage parlor carrying and writing notes on a clipboard before demanding a massage because his firearm holster was hurting his back. While the manager was sending a masseuse into a room to give LaPorte a massage, he undressed and laid naked on the massage table. LaPorte received a 30-minute back massage and told the masseuse that he was a police officer inspecting the business.
During the massage, the Golden Spa manager called the City of Lake Forest business licensing department to describe the situation. After the back massage, the masseuse left the room and LaPorte asked the manager to send her back in to massage his front, but the manager refused. LaPorte got dressed, failed to pay for his massage, and demanded that the manager pay him $200 for the inspection. The manager again refused.
A legitimate business licensing inspector from the City of Lake Forest responding to the manager’s phone call arrived and identified himself to the defendant as LaPorte was leaving Golden Spa. LaPorte became belligerent and yelled that he didn’t have to answer to the inspector when asked about LaPorte’s inspection. LaPorte then left the massage parlor. The licensing inspector and manager wrote down LaPorte’s license plate number and contacted the police.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department investigated this case. Deputy District Attorney Andrew Katz of the Special Prosecutions Unit prosecuted this case.