Con Artist Back to Targeting Massage Therapists, Making Advances

After Incarceration, Man Calling with Sham Job Offers and Stalking Practitioners Again

Update, March 31, 2014: ABMP has received reports from members in the Maryland/D.C. area that this man is back at it again. Using the same names—Steven Min, Steven Poe, Steven Sung, and Steven Yamamoto—he has begun soliciting individual massage therapists and their places of business again. He draws therapists in by offering a significant amount of money to work with “high rollers,” this time at the Rocky Gap Casino in Flintstone.

An alert was sent to therapists in April of 2011 as a notification that these happenings had occurred, and they could potentially happen again. We remind therapists to use caution and contact the authorities immediately if there is suspicious activity.

Update, April 27, 2011: Steven Min, also known as Steven Sung and Steven Yamamoto, is out of prison and harassing massage therapists again.

Last October, ABMP reported that Min had been arrested for impersonating a public servant. Min had posted a Craigslist ad soliciting massage therapists to work on high-profile guests at the Sands Casino and make a significant amount of money for every massage session. Under the guise of an interview, Min would invite massage therapists to a hotel room late at night to test their skills.

Several massage therapists reported very uncomfortable experiences, including sexual advances, and the job opportunities never came to fruition. After reporting the incident to police, one massage therapist said Min harassed her over the phone and online afterwards.

Ultimately, Min was incarcerated because he identified himself as a Pennsylvania Gaming Board member and an employee of the Sands Casino, and the impersonation was grounds for arrest. Many people in the massage profession expressed relief, as his tactics and actions were becoming more aggressive, and there was concern someone would eventually be hurt. However, it’s relevant to note he was not actually arrested for harassing massage therapists.

On April 25, 2011, ABMP received a report that Steven Min is back to his old tricks, at the Palace Station Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Min has reportedly pulled this scam on massage therapists in New York, New Jersey, Florida, and Nevada. ABMP cautions massage therapists to please be aware of such scams, protect themselves appropriately, and immediately report any misconduct to the local authorities.

Massage therapists in several states, including New York, New Jersey, Florida, and Nevada breathed a sigh of relief. Many massage therapists have corroborated
contacting massage therapists under the guise of alluring job offers. We received information that he’d been doing this for more than eight years.

This time he calls therapists and offers work in his spas and says that he would like a late-night meeting. It has also been reported that he is in New Jersey and has tracked down a therapist that he met the last time he was preying on our profession. The phone calls come late at night and early in the morning and are repetitive. The therapist who first reported this to me contacted the police who in response called him and told him to stop. This seems to have set off a rampage of web postings suggesting that the therapist has investigations against her and worse.

Update April 26, 2011: While Steven Min was arrested last September, it appears he’s out and back to his old tricks again, in Las Vegas. Please scroll down to the bottom of the page to see Barbara Potter’s latest report. He has typically targeted massage therapists in New York, New Jersey, Florida, and Las Vegas. MTs, please be aware!

Update, March 27, 2010: We have received reports that this man has also pulled the same con on massage therapists in the South Florida area.

ABMP received the following letter from Meg Darnell, LMT , Director of Alumni Services, Swedish Institute. In the past, some ABMP members have been harassed by this individual. We take this warning very seriously and ask that you please pass on the information to other therapists.

March 2010
I am once again sending this to alert you of someone who has tried to prey on massage therapists in the past.

I am sorry to have to report that the man named Steven Sung, also known as Steven Min and Steven Yamamoto, who has been soliciting massage therapists with dubious get-rich schemes for the last eight years, is back on the scene.

This time he calls therapists and offers work in his spas and says that he would like a late-night meeting. It has also been reported that he is in New Jersey and has tracked down a therapist that he met the last time he was preying on our profession. The phone calls come late at night and early in the morning and are repetitive. The therapist who first reported this to me contacted the police who in response called him and told him to stop. This seems to have set off a rampage of web postings suggesting that the therapist has investigations against her and worse.

I am sending this email to as many therapists as I can reach, as well as to the New York State Board and the New Jersey Board of Massage Therapy, with the hope of reaching all massage therapists in our area. I am reaching out to a lawyer and an investigator who were both helpful the last time this man was contacting therapists. I am not sure what, if anything, can be done to stop this man.

While it may seem obvious to some, I am strongly suggesting that everyone ignore his phone calls. Do not engage, do not suggest that we know what he’s up to or try to stop him, as I believe it will cause more phone calls and harassment. Just ignore him. Originally he had just one phone number, but now it seems there are many and they are from New Jersey. These job offers are not legitimate and you may be at risk by responding to them. At one time I believed this man was harmless but have come to believe that he may be dangerous.

Many therapists from our school, as well as the schools in our surrounding area, have contacted me because they have seen or heard about the school’s warnings and did not respond to his solicitations. Some, unfortunately, have not heeded the warnings and have met with him–only to find that his offer amounts to nothing.

He is contacting therapists in the entire tri-state area. I implore you to ignore these solicitations and to pass this warning on to your colleagues.

As always, graduates, please remember to trust your instincts. If something feels funny or strange, listen to your wisdom. As a general rule, if something sounds too good to be true, it very well may be.

Meg Darnell, LMT
Director of Alumni Services, Swedish Institute
New York, NY