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Update: Plea Deals Expected to Close Four Washington Strip Clubs

SEATTLE — The federal government would become the owner of four notorious Seattle-area strip clubs under plea agreements being filed Wednesday.

Under the deals, three business associates of Frank Colacurcio Sr. [pictured] were expected to plead guilty to racketeering charges stemming from a federal investigation into his decades-old strip club empire.

The three associates also would close the clubs by May 5 and turn them over to the federal government, according to a court filing unsealed Tuesday.

The Seattle Times reported the men would pay hefty fines but avoid prison time. The U.S. attorney’s office and defense attorneys declined to confirm those details to The Associated Press before a plea hearing scheduled later Wednesday.

The deals must still be approved by U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones.

Investigators alleged that prostitution was rampant at the clubs – Rick’s in Seattle, Sugar’s in Shoreline, Honey’s in Everett and Fox’s near Tacoma. Other criminal activity alleged to have taken place included money laundering and mail fraud.

“These plea agreements reflect serious and detailed negotiations,” Jeff Robinson, a lawyer for one of the men, wrote in the court filing. “All parties have made compromises to reach agreements that are fair to the government, fair to the defendants and consistent with the interests of justice.”

Those expected to plead guilty Wednesday were Colacurcio’s nephew, Leroy Richard Christiansen, David Carl Ebert and Steven Michael Fueston. The three are owners of the limited liability companies that operated the clubs. Corporate guilty pleas were also being entered on behalf of two of those entities.

Christiansen, Ebert and Fueston also agreed they would never again have a role in the adult entertainment industry in Washington state.

Racketeering charges are pending against Colacurcio, 92, and his 48-year-old son Frank Jr., who have pleaded not guilty. The case could be the final round in Colacurcio Sr.’s six-decade battle with the law.

The son of a King County farmer, he entered the topless nightclub business after making a name for himself in Seattle’s pinball industry in the 1950s. He was identified as a racketeer in hearings before a U.S. Senate organized crime committee in 1957 and has periodically served time for racketeering and tax convictions.

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