Aphrodite girls: Inside an alleged high-end escort service
Girls with names including "Alexxa Von Teaze," "Courtney Star" and "Angel" were flown around the world, all expenses paid, plus $3,000 to $8,000 a day for providing companionship to wealthy businessmen.
One was sent to South Africa with a London-based businessman. Another traveled with a Russian businessman to a motorcycle rally in Sturgis, S.D. A woman referred to as "Sun Girl" flew to Miami, where she allegedly met a group of "politicians, lawyers and many other important businessmen," according to a U.S. Attorney's criminal complaint in New York.
That, according to federal investigators, is the world of Vincent and Melissa Lombardo, who are accused of running a high-end prostitution and money-laundering operation from their Boca Raton, Fla., home and Massapequa, N.Y., rental property.
The couple's website, Aphrodite Companions, included links to Web pages that featured nude or partially clothed women with their availability and hourly rate. After providing their full name and employment information, the men were allegedly screened by the Lombardos before they were allowed access to the site. According to the complaint, the Lombardos collected 30 percent to 40 percent of whatever the customer spent.
Myles Mahady, the NYPD detective who worked the case, describes how money was transferred between various bank accounts, and that a Wells Fargo account the Lombardos opened in July 2011 had approximately $1 million in deposits.
The U.S. Attorney's case will include erotic reviews written by men who allegedly paid Aphrodite girls thousands of dollars for sex. One review, dated in April, posted by someone calling himself "Dirtymidget," said, "She opened her door to her private apartment, greeted me with a DFK (deep French kiss) and then led me to the shower." He continues to describe, in great detail, various sexual acts performed during the encounter.
Robert Delcol, the attorney for the Lombardos, denies that there was any exchange of cash for sex and issued this statement on behalf of his clients: "As far as my clients are concerned, they were operating a lawful enterprise. In the event the end users engaged in criminal behavior, it was without the knowledge of the Lombardos.
This case is problematic in that developing Internet-based technology creates a scenario that the law is not designed to address. In other words, here we have a case where an otherwise lawful Internet-based business may have provided an environment for unknown and disconnected illegal conduct.
Given that the Lombardos are vigorously asserting their innocence, they are eager to defend themselves in a court of law." The Lombardos are in jail awaiting a bail hearing.
—By CNBC's Jeff Pohlman and Andrea Day