The owner of a Winnipeg spa charged with extortion and human trafficking has been released on bail. Simple Mehta, 39, wept in court Friday as the Crown laid out details of her charges. Bail conditions prohibit the owner of Simi Magic Spa, located on St. Anne’s road, from visiting her spa, working as an esthetician or massage therapist and contacting alleged victims. The court also forced Mehta to turn over her passport and barred her from using a cellphone, computer and other electronic devices. Mehta and her employee Pam Sandhu, 22, were both charged with extortion earlier this week after a man came forward and alleged he had been sexually assaulted, videotaped and subsequently threatened with the footage. Mehta has also been charged with procuring and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, while Sandhu has been charged with voyeurism, sexual assault and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence.
Police said a 29-year-old man, who was in a business relationship with Mehta, went to the spa on a business matter and was offered a massage by an employee while he waited for Mehta. After preparing for the massage he was sexually assaulted and recorded with a cellphone, police said.
He alleged that he had been threatened with the footage and coughed up “thousands” of dollars before reporting what happened to police.
On Friday, lawyers for Mehta and Sandhu argued separately that both clients deserved to be released on bail with several conditions.
Mehta has two sureties responsible for paying $20,000 each should she violate the bail conditions.
Meanwhile, Sandhu was also released on bail Friday. She faces similar restrictions to Mehta; she has to stay at home and can’t have any contact with Mehta or the victims.
Sandhu isn’t allowed to attend Simi Magic Spa, must be home between 11 p.m. and 7 p.m. every day and must answer the door if a law enforcement officer comes by to do a curfew check, the court ruling stated.
She, too, was forced to hand her passport over and isn’t allowed to use any electronic device capable of accessing the internet.
Sandhu has a $5,000 surety against her and had to put up $1,000 in cash to secure bail.
Mehta’s next court hearing is scheduled for Aug. 2.