Patriots owner Robert Kraft charged for soliciting prostitutes in Florida

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft faces misdemeanor charges of soliciting prostitution in Florida.

Kraft was charged Friday on two counts of soliciting prostitutes, and has a warrant out for his arrest,  police announced.

In a statement told to CNN, a spokesperson for Kraft said, “We categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity. Because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further.”

Police say Kraft was swept up in expansive sting launched by multiple departments, aimed at breaking up alleged prostitution and sex-trafficking ring at massage parlors in several counties in central Florida. The sting centered on multiple parlors and at least two women identified as co-conspirators in the operation. Kraft is alleged to have engaged in illegal activity at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa, located in Jupiter. 

In the broader investigation, police allege that some of the women were forced to become sex workers after obtaining work permits after emigrating from China.

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Robert Kraft through his career
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Robert Kraft through his career
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft answers a reporters question as coach Bill Parcells (L) laughs during a morning press conferenece January 22. The Patriots will meet the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXI January 26. SPORT SUPER BOWL
U.S. President George W. Bush poses with the New England Patriots and their owner, Robert Kraft (L), and Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick (R), during a Rose Garden ceremony honoring the 2001 NFL Champions at the White House, April 2, 2002. The Patriots defeated the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI 20-17. REUTERS/Win McNamee WM/HK
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft (R) and head coach Bill Belichick hold the Lamar Hunt Trophy after the Patriots' 24-14 win over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship in Foxboro, Massachusetts, January 18, 2004. REUTERS/Mike Segar JS
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft (R) greets fans prior to Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston, February 1, 2004. The Patriots are playing the Carolina Panthers. REUTERS/Mike Segar PJ
Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeff Lurie (L) and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft embrace prior to Super Bowl XXXIX at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida, February 6, 2005. Kraft outbid Lurie in 1994 for the ownership of the Patriots, and Lurie bought the Eagles one year later. Lurie is from the Boston area and roots for the Patriots, except when they are playing the Eagles. REUTERS/Mike Blake GAC/SV
New England Patriot owner Robert Kraft holds the Vince Lombardi trophy after Patriots beat the Philadelphia Eagles 24-21 in Super Bowl XXXIX in Jacksonville, Florida, February 6, 2005. REUTERS/Mike Blake CBSV
U.S. President George W. Bush poses with members of the New England Patriots football team at the White House. U.S. President George W. Bush poses for a group picture with players and officials from the New England Patriots football team including team owner Robert Kraft (L) and head coach Bill Belichick (R) during a welcoming ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House, April 13, 2005. The Patriots won the 2005 Super Bowl earlier this year. REUTERS/Jason Reed
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (L) and New England Patriots Chariman and chief executive officer Robert Kraft laugh before the start of a game in Foxboro, Massachusetts, September 24, 2006, while announcing that the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks will play in the first NFL game in China. The game will be played August 8, 2007. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi (UNITED STATES)
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft smiles on the sidelines before his team's NFL football game against the New York Giants in East Rutherford, New Jersey December 29, 2007. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn (UNITED STATES)
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft (R) chats with referee Mike Carey prior to the NFL's Super Bowl XLII football game between the Patriots and the New York Giants in Glendale, Arizona, February 3, 2008. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes (UNITED STATES)
Chairman and CEO of the New England Patriots Robert Kraft (R) poses with Andre Tippett after Tippett was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, August 2, 2008. REUTERS/Matt Sullivan (UNITED STATES)
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (R) poses with New York Giants co-owner Steve Tisch (L) and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft before a Super Bowl XLVI news conference in Indianapolis, Indiana February 3, 2012. Super Bowl XLVI between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants is set for play on February 5. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft (R) kisses former Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe (L) as he holds the Larmar Hunt Trophy after the Patriots defeated the Baltimore Ravens in the NFL's AFC Championship football game in Foxborough, Massachusetts, January 22, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft arrives at the 20th annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party in West Hollywood, California February 26, 2012. REUTERS/Gus Ruelas (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT HEADSHOT)(OSCARS-PARTIES)
Jan 10, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft claps on the field prior to the Patriots' 2014 AFC Divisional playoff football game against the Baltimore Ravens at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft laughs during activities held before the start of the NFL Super Bowl XLIX football game against the Seattle Seahawks in Glendale, Arizona, February 1, 2015. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
Feb 1, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft (left) walks the field with girlfriend Ricki Noel Lander before Super Bowl XLIX against the Seattle Seahawks at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
U.S. President Barack Obama (C) holds a replica jersey he was given as he plays host to the reigning NFL Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, including head coach Bill Belichick (L) and team owner Robert Kraft (R), on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington April 23, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Aug 7, 2015; Canton, OH, USA; New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft poses with enshrinees Jim Kelly, Marv Levy, Bill Polian, Thurman Thomas, Will Shields and James Lofton at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 22, 2017; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft celebrates after beating the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2017 AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 5, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the Atlanta Falcons 34-38 in Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
New England Patriots NFL team owner Robert Kraft poses at Elton John's 70th Birthday and 50-Year Songwriting Partnership with Bernie Taupin benefiting the Elton John AIDS Foundation and the UCLA Hammer Museum at RED Studios Hollywood in Los Angeles, March 25, 2017. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok
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The probe also involved the execution of at least eight search warrants and the seizure of cash and property assets valued in the millions. Kraft’s charges, according to authorities, was centered on simple solicitation.

Kraft, 77, has been the principal owner of the Patriots since 1994, shepherding the franchise to one of the best runs in NFL history. That has included six Super Bowl titles, including the latest in February. He’s revered in New England for saving the Patriots from moving out of the region, as well as his family’s myriad philanthropic endeavors.

He’s regarded as the of the NFL’s elite owners, as shown by his selection to the NFL chairmen’s committee in August of 2016. That puts him in a select group of owners with Clark Hunt of the Chiefs, John Mara of the Giants, and Art Rooney II in Pittsburgh.

Kraft’s wife, Myra, died in 2001. According to The Boston Globe, he has been in a relationship described as “on-again, off-again” with Ricki Noel Lander. Kraft denied in statement to the Globe in March of last year that he’s not the biological father of Lander’s baby. 

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