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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of California

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

South Carolina Club Owners Sentenced To More Than Three Years In Prison For Money Laundering And Drug Conspiracy

SAN FRANCISCO – South Carolina businessmen Vladimir Handl and Michael Rose each were sentenced to more than three years in prison for their respective roles in a racketeering, money-laundering, and drug trafficking scheme, announced United States Attorney Brian J. Stretch and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett. Pursuant to the sentences handed down yesterday by United States District Judge William Alsup, Handl was sentenced to 44 months in prison, and Rose was sentenced to 40 months in prison.

Handl, 38, and Rose, 45, both operated clubs and restaurants in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina at the time of their involvement in the charged scheme.  Handl owned and operated a night club called Heat Lounge in Myrtle Beach, and Rose operated several strip clubs in South Carolina, Delaware, and New Hampshire under the name “The Gold Club.”   

Handl and Rose are two of the eleven defendants charged in a superseding indictment filed on March 24, 2015, for their alleged participation in a conspiracy to conduct a criminal enterprise through a pattern of racketeering.  According to the indictment, between 2011 and 2015, the defendants knowingly accepted more than $2.3 million that they believed either had been fraudulently diverted from a bankruptcy court proceeding or were the proceeds of drug trafficking.  After they each received cash from undercover FBI agents, the defendants laundered the money through fake business entities.  As part of the scheme, the defendants created fraudulent invoices, contracts, and other business records to make it appear that the cash they received and then returned as “cleaned” funds was for legitimate business transactions.  During the scheme, Handl also sought to purchase kilograms of cocaine, and Rose agreed to assist with the drug transaction.  Handl and Rose, among others, where charged with racketeering conspiracy, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d).  Handl and Rose also were charged with substantive racketeering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1962(c), and conspiracy to commit money laundering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(h).  In addition, Handl was charged with 118 counts of money laundering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(a)(3); and conspiring to distribute cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846.  Rose was charged with 105 counts of substantive money laundering and conspiring to distribute cocaine. Rose pleaded guilty to all the charges.  Handl was found guilty after a bench trial before Judge Alsup in which Handl acknowledged he would not contest any of the facts alleged in the superseding indictment.

In addition to the prison terms, Judge Alsup also imposed a term of three years of supervised release on each defendant.  Rose also was ordered to pay a fine of $15,000.  Both defendants remain free on bond.  The defendants have been ordered to surrender and begin serving their sentence no later than August 1, 2016, for Handl and August 2, 2016, for Rose.

Assistant United States Attorneys Lloyd Farnham and Andrew Dawson are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Michelle Alter, Yanira Osorio, and Marina Ponomarchuk.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  

Drug Trafficking
Updated September 21, 2016