News and Press Releases

Colacurcio Organization Promoted Prostitution, Laundered Illegal Proceeds and Cheated on Tax Payments

June 30, 2009

A federal grand jury indictment unsealed today charges FRANK COLACURCIO, SR, his son FRANK COLACURCIO, JR, and four of their close associates with a Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO) scheme to promote prostitution at the strip clubs they operate in the greater Seattle area. The indictment follows the restraining order filed just over a year ago, preventing the transfer of various Colacurcio properties pending the investigation of criminal activity at the strip clubs.

“With the indictment unsealed today, we take an important step in this racketeering investigation,” said Jeffrey C. Sullivan, United States Attorney for the Western District of Washington. “Our trial team has interviewed more than 200 witnesses, reviewed thousands of pages of reports, transcripts of wire taps, and video surveillance of activities at the clubs. We look forward to proving the RICO conspiracy in court.”

The indictment charges the defendants with Conspiracy to Commit RICO, Conspiracy to Use Interstate Facilities in Aid of Racketeering – Prostitution, Conspiracy to Engage in Money Laundering, and twelve counts of Mail Fraud. A forfeiture provision in the indictment seeks to forfeit to the government the strip club and other properties, the assets of the corporations, and at least $25 million, representing the proceeds of the crimes.

The 25 page indictment lays out the actions members of the conspiracy took to promote prostitution at the clubs and their failure to stop prostitution when it was reported to them. In various recorded conversations, the COLACURCIOs and their associates dissuaded dancers and managers from reporting acts of prostitution and repeatedly returned dancers who were arrested for and caught in acts of prostitution back to the clubs. The indictment further details how credit card machines and ATMs were used to facilitate the prostitution and how the proceeds of prostitution were laundered through various bank accounts. The mail fraud counts allege that the COLACURCIO organization mailed false reports to the City of Seattle regarding the number of people who entered the clubs and paid a cover charge. The indictment alleges those numbers were purposefully under-reported to evade the admissions tax and to enable the defendants to retain for themselves hundreds of thousands of dollars of unreported income per year.

The indictment charges the following defendants:
FRANK COLACURCIO, SR., 92, of Lake Forest Park, Washington
FRANK COLACURCIO, JR, 47, of Seattle, Washington
LEROY RICHARD CHRISTIANSEN, 67, of Seattle, Washington
DAVID CARL EBERT, 61, of Monroe, Washington
STEVEN MICHAEL FUESTON, 61, of Tacoma, Washington
JOHN GILBERT CONTE, 75, of Bothell, Washington
D.C.E., INC., a Seattle-based corporation
MM MR RM CORPORATION, a Seattle-based corporation
LLC EVERETT I , a Seattle-based company

The defendants have been summoned to appear for arraignment in U.S. District Court in Seattle on July 24, 2009, at 9:30 a.m.

RICO Conspiracy is punishable by twenty years of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. Conspiracy to Use Interstate Facilities in Aid of Racketeering – Prostitution is punishable by five years of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. Conspiracy to Engage in Money Laundering is punishable by twenty years of imprisonment and a fine of $500,000 or up to the amount of funds involved in the money laundering transactions, whichever is greater. Mail Fraud is punishable by twenty years of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.

The charges contained in the indictment are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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, Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, and the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Todd Greenberg and Tessa Gorman.

For additional information or to schedule an interview with U.S. Attorney Sullivan and the trial team please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

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