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RESTRAINING ORDER FILED AGAINST COLACURCIO OWNED PROPERTIES - First Step Toward Potential Forfeiture in RICO Prosecution

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 2, 2008

United States Attorney Jeffrey C. Sullivan announced today the filing of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against properties owned by the Colacurcio organization. These properties include three strip clubs, Rick’s in Seattle, Sugar’s in Shoreline, Washington and Honey’s in Everett, Washington, and the Talents West office and Accurate Bookkeeping office on Lake City Way in Seattle. The TRO is the first step in ensuring that the equity and assets of the Colacurcio organization will be frozen and available for forfeiture to the government pending the conclusion of a criminal investigation and successful prosecution.

According to the filings in U.S. District Court in Seattle, the Colacurcio organization is under federal investigation for RICO -- Racketeering Influence Corrupt Organization – violations. Sworn affidavits from federal investigators detail extensive prostitution activities at the four strip clubs owned by the Colacurcio organization: Rick’s, Sugar’s, Honey’s and Fox’s in Tacoma, Washington. The prostitution is promoted, protected and facilitated by the Colacurcio organization. Potential charges in a RICO case include Use of Interstate Facilities in Aid of Racketeering, Money Laundering and Mail Fraud. The Mail Fraud investigation relates to the organizations chronic under-reporting of attendance at Rick’s strip club, and an admissions tax loss to the City of Seattle of more than $3,000 per month.

“For far too long the Colacurcio organization has made big money operating their clubs as fronts for prostitution,” said United States Attorney Jeffrey C. Sullivan. “The Colacurcios have designed the clubs, the payment methods, and the policies to encourage prostitution and to ensure they are the ones getting rich off of these illegal sex acts.”

In conjunction with the filing of the Temporary Restraining Order, law enforcement executed numerous search warrants at the clubs, homes and offices associated with the strip club businesses. To date no criminal charges have been filed in connection with the investigation. The Colacurcio organization now has ten days to dispute the TRO. The TRO does not shut down the clubs or Talents West, and is mindful of the rights of third parties with interests in the properties.

Affidavits filed with the TRO paint a picture of clubs where paid sex acts are obvious to undercover officers, as well as the owners and managers of the clubs. Customers use an ATM or credit card machine which dispense tokens used for purchasing “services” at the club. The affidavits allege that the club takes a cut of the payment for illegal sex acts, by reducing the amount of money provided to the dancer when she cashes in the tokens at the end of the night. The affidavits indicate that the criminal investigation used confidential sources, undercover officers posing as customers, and even a police officer who infiltrated the organization as a club manager. No undercover officers engaged in sex acts as part of this investigation.

Credentialed reporters may obtain copies of the filings only from the United States Attorney’s Office.

The FBI is interested in speaking with anyone who can assist in the investigation and has set up a toll free tip line at 1-877-774-8889.

The case is being investigated by the FBI, IRS, and Seattle Police Department with assistance from the King County Sheriff’s Department, Everett Police Department and Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Todd Greenberg.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

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