TRENTON — Following a guilty plea, a Hunterdon County man will spend 33 months behind bars for selling phony massage licenses, some of which were used to disguise prostitution activity as legitimate massage services.

The announcement from the U.S. Attorney's Office Monday said Naresh Rane, 68, of Tewksbury knew in particular that a series of 10 fraudulent certificates and transcripts he provided to a then-Westwood councilman between November 2013 and March 2014 were being purchased for these purposes.

That official was identified as Robert Miller, who pleaded guilty in early 2016 and was later found dead along with his wife in an apparent double suicide in July of that year.

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Miller had given the bogus documents to prostitutes working in massage parlors in Hudson, Middlesex, Passaic, and Union counties, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Rane had owned and operated North Bergen-based Axiom Healthcare Academy, which claimed to offer massage therapy training, according to court documents.

But in lieu of required training, he was alleged to have offered certificates and other fake documents at prices ranging from $1,000 to $2,600.

He pleaded guilty to "knowingly and intentionally using and causing the use of facilities in interstate commerce to promote, manage, establish, carry on, and facilitate the business of prostitution," and will be subject to three years' supervised release upon completion of his prison term.

Patrick Lavery is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com

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