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Orange County couple accused of operating high-end brothel in Irvine apartments

Fadi Chaiban, 53, and Tina Saunders, 53, of Ladera Ranch, are accused of operating a brothel in Irvine.
(Orange County District Attorney’s Office)

A couple living in a wealthy suburb of south Orange County has been charged with operating a brothel in several high-end apartments, according to prosecutors.

Investigators said they were looking for additional victims of brothel ringleader Fadi Boulos Chaiban, 53, and his partner, Tina Lorraine Saunders, 53, who lived in Ladera Ranch and allegedly went online to recruit women for their prostitution ring, which ran from April 2015 to this past January in Irvine, authorities said.

Chaiban was charged Tuesday with 29 counts of pandering, three counts of pimping and two counts of conspiracy to commit pandering. If convicted, he faces up to 45 years and four months in prison, officials said.

Saunders is charged with conspiracy to commit pimping, conspiracy to commit pandering, and one count each of pimping and pandering. She faces up to six years in prison if convicted.

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According to prosecutors, Chaiban recruited women for his prostitution ring through online advertisements and arranged rendezvous with clients by occasionally posing as a woman.

He took nude photos of some of the women and posted them online in advertisements for his brothel, authorities said. He also kept a detailed client list, officials said.

During a stakeout of one of the Irvine apartments, which Saunders rented, authorities witnessed men going in and coming out in 30- and 60-minute increments, prosecutors said. At the end of the day, Chaiban would arrive to collect cash from the victim and left only a fraction for her, authorities said.

Chaiban and Saunders were arrested leaving their home on Tuesday. Chaiban had more than $469,000 in cash in a storage locker when he was arrested, officials said.

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At least 29 women were involved in the brothel but authorities fear there could be more victims. Anyone who believes they may have been a victim or a witness is asked to call the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force at (714) 765-1904.

The couple pleaded not guilty and are due back in court next week for pretrial hearings.

joseph.serna@latimes.com

For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna on Twitter.

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