Strippers, club boss drugged men, netted $200K in “fishing” scam, prosecutor says

Posted at 10:44 PM, Jun 11, 2014
and last updated 2014-06-11 22:44:33-04
NEW YORK (CNN) — It’s a tactic known to law enforcement as “fishing” — women troll upscale bars and restaurants to pick up wealthy men for “dates.”

But for four men in New York City, it was anything but dinner and a movie.

Four female adult entertainers and a strip club manager were charged this week in an alleged scheme that involved spiking the men’s drinks, taking them to gentlemen’s clubs, then charging tens of thousands of dollars to their credit cards, according to prosecutors.

The four women — identified as Samantha Barbash, Karina Pascucci, Marsi Rosen and Roselyn Keo — pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy, grand larceny, assault and forgery.

Carmine Vitolo, a manager at RoadHouse NYC Gentlemen’s Club, pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy, grand larceny and tampering with evidence.

The victims were described as professional men working in the medical, financial and legal fields. None of them is named in the indictment filed in State Supreme Court in New York City.

Authorities said substances — including ketamine, a tranquilizer, methylone or “molly,” and cocaine — were slipped into the men’s drinks.

The victims, under the influence of drugs, would then be transported to one of two strip clubs in Manhattan and Queens, where they were “taken to a private room for adult entertainment,” according to the prosecutor’s office.

The prosecutor’s office said Barbash and Keo would consult Vitolo and oversee the financial part of the scheme —charging $5,000 to over $50,000 on individual or even multiple credit cards, a news release says.

The men’s signatures were then forged, or the men were led to believe the charges were significantly less as they signed the bill.

One victim had more than $100,000 in fraudulent charges rung up over the course of three nights, the prosecutor’s office said.

Some victims woke up in their beds with no knowledge of visiting a club the night before, the release added.

Sam Gregory, the attorney for defendant Keo, said the nights in question unfolded differently.

“It sounds like some guys went out, got drunk, spent more money than they were supposed to and now claim they got taken advantage of,” Gregory said.

New York City Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan disagreed.

“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,” she said.

While the charges mentioned in the indictment add up to approximately $200,000 swiped between September and December 2013, agents believe similar criminal activity may date to as early as 2011, the release says.