|Beauty is the mastermind. Karina Pascucci was charged with prostitution, felonious assault and grand larceny.|
The U.S. Justice Department is cracking down on human trafficking and online prostitution.
Some of the prostitutes are turning to the online world instead of the streets.
Facebook, Twitter, POF, Badoo, OkCupid, backpage, Craigslist, and eHarmony are the new way for prostitutes to meet their johns. The pimps are becoming more equipped with the internet as well.
They'll recruit young women who are often runaways and drug abusers to be their "lovers" and "best friends".
They'll play psychological games in their heads. The pimp will give them "candy" or tell them the tales of being not wanted. Usually it begins with the promise in making a little extra money either through stripping or modeling.
Some women (and transgender women) are likely to engage in drugs and practice in unsafe sex. That's gives the risk of sexuality transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS.
A crew of New York City strippers scammed wealthy men by spiking their drinks with "molly" or other drugs, then driving them to strip clubs that ran up tens of thousands of dollars on their credit cards while they were too wasted to stop it, authorities said today. A banker and a real estate attorney were among four unnamed victims who lost at least $200,000.
DEA and NYPD investigators arrested four women—all described as professional strippers—earlier this week on charges including grand larceny, assault, and forgery; one of the women is expected to appear in state court in Manhattan later today following appearances yesterday by the other three, including suspected ringleader Samantha Barbash.
|Samantha Barbash was arrested for grand larceny, prostitution and human trafficking.|
The men reported waking up in their cars or in hotel rooms with little or no memory of the encounters. Those who tried to dispute the strip club bills allegedly received texts from the strippers threatening to go public with their transgressions.
One of the women, Karina Pascucci, and the manager, Carmine Vitolo, pleaded not guilty on Wednesday in state court in Manhattan. The other three defendants, including suspected ringleader Samantha Barbash, were arraigned on Tuesday.
Barbash's attorney, Stephen Murphy, said Wednesday that his client denies the charges. Pascucci's lawyer, Patrick Parrotta, said his client is a college student with no criminal record who worked as a waitress at Scores in Manhattan but never stripped there. A lawyer for Vitolo, Murray Richman, denied charges the club manager helped set up the men.
According to Drug Enforcement Administration and New York Police Department investigators, the scheme began with the women going on "fishing" expeditions at bars in midtown Manhattan and on Long Island to lure in victims. On follow-up dates, they secretly dosed the victim's drinks with the stimulant methylone, commonly known as "molly," or the tranquilizer ketamine.
The dazed and confused victims were driven to Scores and the RoadHouse in Queens, where their credit cards were swiped and unauthorized charges recorded, some as high as $50,000. The clubs paid the women a fee, but the establishments were not facing criminal charges, authorities said.
The men reported waking up in their cars or in hotel rooms, wondering how they got there. Those who tried to dispute the strip club bills received texts from the strippers threatening to go public with their transgressions, authorities said.
"The defendants were banking on the victims being too afraid to contact the police, but as the indictment and arrests show, they made a serious miscalculation," Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan said.
Last month, Scores sued Younan, saying he owed the club $135,303 for unpaid services. According to the lawsuit, the doctor disputed the charges by saying "he was drugged by plaintiff's employees and thus did not authorize the charges" — a claim the club says is contradicted by security video showing him freely showing up there on four separate occasions.
The arrests exposed how "my client was preyed upon by this ring and not responsible for charges to his credit card," Younan's attorney, Michael Weinstein, said Wednesday.
There was no immediate response to phone messages left Wednesday at Scores and the RoadHouse.