When federal drug enforcement agents were told four strippers were allegedly spiking men's drinks with drugs so they could rack up enormous charges on their credit cards they sent in an undercover agent to investigate. It wasn't long before the dancers tried the same tactic on the investigator, a law enforcement official told ABC News, and that cemented the case.
The DEA and NYPD arrested the women and a manger of a strip club in Queens, N.Y., on charges they gave unsuspecting wealthy men drugs, acquired their credit cards and ran up $200,000 in unauthorized charges.
A source familiar with the investigation told ABC News the victims, who were not identified, were a hedge fund manager, a bank manager and a real estate lawyer. An attorney for New Jersey cardiologist Zyad Younan identified him as one of the victims. Younan, who is from New Jersey, had been sued by Scores for not paying a $135,000 credit card bill.
"We were always confident that law enforcement's efforts would expose that my client was preyed upon by this ring and not responsible for charges to his credit card," Younan's legal team of Michael Weinstein and Cole Schotz said in a statement today.
The accused women, Samantha Barbash, Karina Pascucci, Marsi Rosen and Roselyn Keo, face charges of grand larceny, assault and forgery. The manager of Roadhouse Gentlemen's Club, Carmine Vitolo, was also arrested as part of the alleged conspiracy.
The women would meet men and arrange a date at a bar or club in New York City or on Long Island, according to court documents. They would then "provide the victims with drugs and acquire their credit cards" and use them to make $200,000 worth of unauthorized charges, court records said.
"This repugnant scheme involved not only the theft of $200,000, but compromised the health, safety and security of victims by covertly giving them harmful substances," said Bridget Brennan, the special narcotics prosecutor in New York City. "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."
Prosecutors said the women and the club manager worked together to use ketamine," molly" and cocaine to drug their victims, take them to either Scores New York in Manhattan or RoadHouse Gentlemen's Club in Queens where the alleged scam went down in private rooms.
At the end of the night, prosecutors said some victims woke up in their beds and had no knowledge of having gone to a club the night before. Investigators believe that a combination of different drugs utilized on the victims sometimes caused memory loss. The victims learned of the extent of the charges to their credit cards only after they checked their statement or received a call from their credit card companies. Each of the four victims attempted to reverse some or all of the charges. In response, the defendants allegedly sent threatening text messages telling the victims not to contest the charges.
"This crime ring targeted wealthy men in the New York City area to extort hundreds of thousands of dollars," said James Hunt, acting special agent in charge of the DEA office in New York. "Case in point, four women and one man preyed on, drugged, endangered and robbed unsuspecting victims while they were under the influence of synthetic drugs used as a date rape drug."