A former manager of three Omaha spas used as fronts for prostitution was sentenced Wednesday to 33 months in federal prison.
Tammy L. Schuck, 43, could have received up to 45 years in prison from U.S. District Judge Laurie Smith Camp.
Schuck is the fifth person to plead guilty after being indicted in the case.
Her daughter, Tabatha Ashburn, 24, also pleaded guilty as part of an agreement offered by prosecutor John Higgins. In return, Ashburn does not face any prison time at her Jan. 6 sentencing.
Schuck pleaded guilty to conspiracy, inducement to interstate travel for illegal sexual conduct and a money laundering conspiracy.
She remains free until the Federal Bureau of Prisons determines the facility where she will serve her sentence.
Schuck also was ordered to pay a $235,213 judgment and, once she is released from prison, she will be on five years of supervised release.
Higgins argued for a four-year prison sentence.
He said Schuck’s spa operation had “many victims,” including Ashburn, who he said was coerced into becoming a sex worker at age 18 because of a debt to her mother.
“The defendant was aware of the daughter’s vulnerability,” Higgins said.
Defense attorney Mark Bubak asked the judge to take into account Schuck’s contention that she was the victim of sex abuse as a child. He said she had been victimized by her stepfather.
“Miss Schuck was abused from age 4 to 16 by an evil man,” Bubak said. “She has been in self-survival mode based upon her experiences as a child.”
In pleading guilty, Schuck admitted to running one of three related spas, which prosecutors said she bought from William “Randy” Knox. He has been sentenced to one year in prison, a $100,000 fine and two years of probation.
A third woman, Kim Bivens, previously pleaded guilty to criminal conspiracy and was sentenced to 37 months in prison.
The fifth defendant, Christopher J. Tierney, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and awaits sentencing.
The spas’ employees and customers have not been charged.
According to the plea agreement, starting in approximately April 2008 and continuing to about January 2012, Schuck operated three spas in Omaha. The spas had different names over time, but were frequently referred to as the 93rd Street Spa, the 72nd Street Spa and the It Works Spa.
Male customers paid fees that varied by the length of the sex sessions. Those fees went to the spa.
Workers kept the tips they negotiated with their customers.
During Schuck’s ownership of the spas, more than 20 workers engaged in commercial sex acts, said U.S. Attorney Deb Gilg.