NEW YORK (AP) — A crew of New York City strippers scammed wealthy men by spiking their drinks with illegal synthetic drugs, then driving them to strip clubs that ran up tens of thousands of dollars on their credit cards while they were too wasted to stop it, authorities said Wednesday.
A banker and a real estate attorney were among four victims who lost at least $200,000. None was identified by name in court papers.
Drug Enforcement Administration and New York Police Department investigators arrested four women — all described as professional strippers — earlier this week on charges including grand larceny, assault and forgery, according to papers provided to The Associated Press.
One of the women was expected to appear in state court in Manhattan on Wednesday following appearances Tuesday by the other three, including suspected ringleader Samantha Barbash.
Barbash's attorney, Stephen Murphy, said Wednesday that his client denies the charges. He declined to comment further.
A strip club manager also was facing potential charges.
The roundup followed an undercover investigation that found that the women joined in a scheme to rip off the men by drugging them with the stimulant methylone, commonly known as "molly," or other drugs after arranging to meet them at upscale bars in New York and Long Island, authorities said. The impaired victims were driven to Scores in Manhattan and the RoadHouse in Queens, where they were charged for private rooms, expensive meals, drinks and other services, they said.
The clubs paid the women for the visits, but the establishments were not facing criminal charges, authorities said.
The men reported waking up in their cars or in hotel rooms with little or no memory of the encounters. Those who tried to dispute the strip club bills received texts from the strippers threatening to go public with their transgressions, authorities said.
"The defendants were banking on the victims being too afraid to contact the police, but as the indictment and arrests show, they made a serious miscalculation," Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan said.
Last month, Scores sued a cardiologist, saying he owed the club $135,303 for unpaid services. According to the lawsuit, the doctor disputed the charges by saying "he was drugged by plaintiff's employees and thus did not authorize the charges" — a claim the club says is contradicted by security video showing him freely showing up there on four separate occasions.
There was no immediate response to phone messages left Wednesday at Scores and the RoadHouse.
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