GO
Loading...

Aphrodite girls: Inside an alleged high-end escort service

Jeff Pohlman and Andrea Day
Friday, 2 Aug 2013 | 1:37 PM ET
Busted: High-class hooker ring
Thursday, 1 Aug 2013 | 1:51 PM ET
Investigators are digging to track all the money in the investigation into a New York couple accused of running an international prostitution and money-laundering operation. CNBC's Andrea Day offers insight.

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

Featured

  • Andrea Day

    Andrea Day covers Crime & Punishment for CNBC. She and her team have reported nearly $1 billion in fraud this year.

Madoff Trustee: Investigations Inc

Crime & Punishment: Inside the SEC

  • The Treasury estimates that $21 billion in potentially fraudulent refunds due to identity theft could be issued in the next five years.

  • CNBC's Gary Kaminsky takes a look at the massive amount of digital data that pours into the SEC's enforcement division, which is in charge of investigating violations of securities laws.

  • CNBC's Gary Kaminsky spent time with SEC's Bruce Karpati to learn more about his division, which investigates allegations of fraud committed by investment advisers. Kaminsky reports that if you're breaking the law, the agency will find you.

Selling the American Dream

Investigations Inc.: Cyber Espionage

  • When a person enters information on a website, like an email or credit card, it gets stored in that company’s data base. Those web-based forms are a simple tool for users, but they are also another way hackers can exploit a company’s system. Instead of inputting a name into the website, cyber spies can put in a specially crafted text that may cause the database to execute the code instead of simply storing it, Alperovitch said. The result is a “malicious takeover of the system,” he said.

    By attacking business computer networks, hackers are accessing company secrets and confidential strategies and creating huge losses for the overall economy.

  • China is working feverishly to counteract its slowest GDP growth in recent years, and one of the ways it’s doing so, say U.S. officials, is through the theft of American corporate secrets.

  • US businesses are enduring an unprecedented onslaught of cyber invasions from foreign governments, organized crime syndicates, and hacker collectives, all seeking to steal information and disrupt services, cybersecurity experts say.