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Businessman charged with advising New York City brothel

NEW YORK (AP) — A Massachusetts businessman was arrested Wednesday on charges that say he provided startup money and financial advice to a New York City brothel.

David Stasior, 53, of Concord, Massachusetts, began as a customer of a group of New York brothels that employed prostitutes primarily from South Korea before he provided an unidentified co-conspirator with financing in 2013 to open Fantasia, a Manhattan brothel, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in New York City.

The complaint said Stasior was listed on spreadsheets as a "Partner" in the business while he itemized the brothel's prostitution revenues and various expenses related to it, including the cost of advertising. The business closed last year, authorities said.

"For years, the defendant allegedly helped launder the proceeds of an illegal brothel operation in Manhattan, providing start-up money, ongoing financial advice, and record-keeping services," Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said in a release. "As alleged, the defendant financially supported and profited from this business that exploited vulnerable women and laundered money."

Stasior was scheduled to appear in Boston federal court later Wednesday. A message left with his lawyer was not immediately returned.

Philip Bartlett, head of the New York office of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, said the arrest stemmed from an investigation of a group of New York brothels that began in 2012, resulting in the arrest of 17 individuals before Stasior, including the owners of at least 10 Manhattan brothels.

"Many claim prostitution is the oldest profession in the world," he said. "The anonymity of the internet was used to hide the identity of its operators, keeping law enforcement in the dark. As in this case, what is done in the dark will always be revealed in the light."

The complaint said Stasior, charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to violate the Travel Act, helped to manage online advertising and the collection of advertising revenues. It also said he sent multiple emails to the co-conspirator, providing business advice and tips on how to boost profits through online advertising.