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Strip Club Prostitution Was Generating Millions

Tacoma, WA – For nearly two decades, the strip club called Fox’s has operated relatively quietly in Parkland, attracting little notoriety and making tons of money.

That’s exactly the way the Colacurcio family prefers to do business. If you run a haven for prostitution, you don’t like to attract a lot of attention.

Unfortunately for the Colacurcios and their business partners, their four strip clubs in the Puget Sound region, including Fox’s, are front-page news – because the feds are out to bring them down.

Monday’s federal raids on the Colacurcio joints were based on five years of investigation. They dragged into the spotlight what authorities describe as a criminal enterprise raking in millions through “rampant prostitution” in the clubs.

The Colacurcios have been nailed before; both Frank Colacurcio Sr., the 90-year-old patriarch, and his son, Frank Jr., have done prison time. But this could be the case that puts the Colacurcio crime family out of business for good – and what good riddance that would be.

Fox’s, the inconspicuous club almost hidden off Pacific Highway South near the Highway 512 interchange, was not, according to authorities, just a harmless nudie joint.

The federal affidavit, apparently the prelude to a laundry list of criminal charges including racketeering, money laundering and wire fraud, says all four clubs operated on the same business model.

The formula is simple: A $10 cover charge and a $5 drink is just for starters. A customer who wants more than a lap dance is steered by dancers or managers to a dimly lit, screened-off “VIP area” where close encounters of the sexual kind occur. Undercover investigators witnessed “scores” of sex acts and reported that the floors of the VIP areas are littered with condoms.

That’s bad enough, but worse is the scheme the clubs are accused of using to force many dancers into what amounts to indentured servitude.

At Fox’s, for example, a dancer has to pay $120 “rent” for each shift. If she misses a shift or doesn’t make enough money to cover the rent, she owes “back rent” to the club. That leaves many dancers no alternative but to rely on prostitution to pay their “back rent.”

The scale of the prostitution activity is staggering. Between June 2006 and April 2007, according to a federal affidavit, Fox’s alone generated more than $2 million worth of ATM transactions used to pay for tokens – which in turn were used to pay for sexual favors.

The new move against the Colacurcios brings back bad memories of Pierce County’s Carbone racketeering scandal in the early 1980s that brought down Sheriff George Janovich. The Carbones ran a nightclub-based criminal enterprise more focused on gambling than prostitution.

That scandal led to a change in the form of county government and other reforms. This case against the Colacurcios may rid Pierce County of a filthy criminal cancer that had been growing far too long.


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