NEW YORK (PIX11) — A crew of New York City strippers allegedly preyed on unsuspecting men by drugging them, stealing their credit cards and running up extravagant bills at topless clubs while their wealthy victims were in a daze, authorities said.
Four women and a strip club manager are accused in a scheme to spike the men’s drinks with illegal synthetic drugs after meeting up with them at upscale bars in Manhattan and Long Island, often under the guise of a date.
“At the end of the night, some victims woke up their beds and had no knowledge of having gone to a club the night before,” the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for the City of New York said in a statement Wednesday.
The alleged scheme lasted at least from Sept. 2, 2013, to Dec. 19, 2013, and targeted doctors, lawyers and a finance professional.
One of the alleged victims is a cardiologist from New Jersey who was featured in news reports as having racked up huge bills at topless bars. The doctor claimed that he never made the purchases and contended that he must have been drugged.
“We were always confident that law enforcement’s efforts would expose that my client was preyed upon by this ring and not responsible for charges to his credit card,” a lawyer for Dr. Zyad Younan told PIX11 News in a statement.
Investigators said the suspected scammers used a mix of drugs to intoxicate their victims, including the tranquilizer ketamine, molly and cocaine.
After the men slipped into a daze, they were brought to Scores New York on Manhattan’s west side or to RoadHouse Gentlemen’s Club in Queens and put in a private room, investigators said.
That’s when the suspects allegedly snatched the victims’ credit cards and ripped them off for tens of thousands of dollars by either forging the victim’s signature or tricking him into signing a receipt. One of the victims incurred more than $100,000 in fraudulent charges to his credit card over three nights, investigators said.
Authorities said the clubs paid the women as part the scam, but the establishments aren’t facing criminal charges.
No one picked up the phone at RoadHouse Tuesday, and a message left with Scores was not immediately returned.
Each of the four victims tried to reverse the exorbitant charges on their cards, but when they did, the suspects allegedly sent them threatening texts warning them not to contest the charges, investigators said.
Samantha Barbash, 40; Roselyn Keo, 29; Karina Pascucci, 26; and Marsi Rosen, 28, were arrested Monday and charged with multiple counts of grand larceny, assault, forgery and conspiracy, according to a criminal indictment.
A manager at RoadHouse, Carmine Vitolo, 43, was arrested Wednesday and faces conspiracy, grand larceny and tampering with evidence charges.
PIX11’s Narmeen Choudhury contributed to this report.