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January 31, 2014

LAFAYETTE, La. United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that Dipvak Vora, 70, of Baton Rouge, La., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Elizabeth E. Foote, to a one count bill of information on a charge of engaging in interstate travel in aid of racketeering by receiving illegal proceeds from prostitution at the now closed Desperado’s Cabaret in Carencro, La.  Desperado’s used facilities in interstate commerce to operate, which included shipment of alcohol and other goods, internet advertisements, and negotiation of debts through credit cards and checks.

According to evidence presented at the guilty plea, Vora is the property owner of the building and land that formerly operated as Desperado’s Cabaret.  Vora formed Desperado’s of Acadiana with business partner and operator of Desperado’s Cabaret, James Panos. 

Vora admitted that he knew Desperado’s engaged in prostitution as early as 2006, and that between 2006 and 2011, he was paid cash totaling $500,000 in illegal proceeds from Desperado’s.

Vora, Panos, and eight others were charged on May 15, 2013, in an indictment alleging racketeering conspiracy, drug conspiracy, and firearms charges.  The charges are the result of an investigation of drug trafficking, drug distribution, prostitution, and other illegal activity that took place at Desperado’s Cabaret in Carencro located on Northeast Evangeline Thruway. 

Vora is the fifth person to plead guilty in the case.  He faces up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release for one count of interstate and foreign travel or transportation in aid of racketeering enterprises.  As part of the plea agreement, Vora agreed to forfeit $500,000 of illegal proceeds and to forfeit the Desperado’s property.  A sentencing date of June 11, 2014 was set.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations, Louisiana State Police, and Lafayette Metro Narcotics investigated the case.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Myers P. Namie and Daniel J. McCoy are prosecuting the case.

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