Orlando federal prosecutors charged 15 people Thursday with being managers of a prostitution ring operated out of men’s clubs in Florida and Connecticut.
By afternoon, 11 were in custody on charges of money laundering, perjury or weapons violations. All were freed on bail in Orlando by U.S. Magistrate David Baker.
Mike Hegerfeld, head of the Orlando office of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, said more arrests are expected in the two-year case, which began with an investigation of former members of the defunct Huns motorcycle gang of Connecticut.
Arrested were Deborah Padgett, 31; Cheryl Carriero, 36; Christopher Wilcox, 27, all of Melbourne; Judith Jackson, 46; John Herlihy, 58, and Marjorie Knight, 53, all of Palm Bay; June Noble, 37, of St. Cloud; Forbes Duguid, 51, of Easton, Conn.; and Barbara Howard of Altamonte Springs.
Still being sought were Michael Avery of Connecticut; Tammy Rowe of Orlando; Andrew Armstrong of Tampa and Melinda Miller of Dunnellon.
In an affidavit filed in federal court, ATF agent William Crummett identified the ringleaders as Phillip Squillante and Robert Labak, whom Connecticut authorities say are former Huns who live in Palm Bay and travel to Connecticut on business.
Aides to the men ran at least 12 houses of prostitution and have concealed hundreds of thousands of dollars of profits since the 1980s, Crummett wrote. Some clubs took in an average of $1,000 a day from sex, the agent said.
The clubs, according to Crummett, included the Tahiti Spa and Xanadu Thee Club, both in Melbourne; Jade East, Orlando; Comfort Zone, Longwood; Roman Spa, Lakeland; Leisure World, Avon Park; V.I.P. Sales, Bradenton; Club Venus, near Bradenton; and Pyramid Spa, near Panama City. Three others are in Connecticut.
Connecticut authorities say Squillante and other ex-Hun members had prior arrests or convictions for drug, weapons and assault charges.
Neither Squillante or Labak have been charged in connection with the men’s clubs. They could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Avery, whom Crummett identified as a general manager for the ring, is accused of opening a bank account for Xanadu and depositing nearly $311,000 into it from September 1993 to September 1994. Crummett alleged that those funds came from prostitution and that additional money was never deposited.
Duguid and Herlihy also are accused of being general managers for the group in Connecticut and Florida. Herlihy also is charged with possessing firearms while a convicted felon.
The arrests followed searches last fall of two dozen homes, businesses and banks.