U.S. Department of Justice
Contact: Tom Carson, Public Information Office, (203) 821-3722, (203) 996-1393 (cell)
OWNER OF HARTFORD'S ALPHA
CLUB SENTENCED TO
Kevin J. O'Connor, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that ANGELA MOUTSATSOS, age 49, the former owner of the Alpha Leisure & Health Club, Inc., located at 156A Franklin Avenue, Hartford, Connecticut, was sentenced today by Chief United States District Judge Robert N. Chatigny in Hartford to 36 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised, on her convictions for conspiracy to use interstate facilities to promote prostitution, money laundering and conspiracy to smuggle bulk cash into the United States. Judge Chatigny also ordered MOUTSATSOS to pay a fine in the amount of $10,000. On January 12, 2005, MOUTSATSOS pleaded guilty to three counts of a 38-count Indictment returned by a federal grand jury in March 2004.
According to documents filed with the Court and to statements made in court, between 1996 and 2002, MOUTSATSOS was an employee or officer of the Alpha Club, and in 2002 she took control of, and became the principal owner of, the Alpha Club. Although the Alpha Club advertised and promoted itself to be a health club offering massages and other health services, it was, in fact, a house of prostitution in which women performed sexual acts for customers in exchange for money. Between 1998 and October 2003, the Alpha Club received approximately $5.3 million in gross receipts, and as of October 2003, had a "membership" (customer) list of more than 4,600 individuals.
MOUTSATSOS has admitted that, between 1996 and 2003, the Alpha Club accepted credit card charges with VISA, Mastercard, and other credit cards, as payment for prostitution services. These payments generally included a "house fee" of $40 for 30 minutes, $50 for 45 minutes and $60 for one hour. The prostitute was then paid a "tip" in an amount at least equal to the house fee, and often more than that amount. If the prostitute's fee was charged to a credit card, she would receive that payment in cash, less a 6% deduction, from the Alpha Club at the end of her shift.
MOUTSATSOS further admitted that from approximately March 2001through approximately March 2002, she conspired with others to smuggle bulk cash into the United States from Switzerland. Specifically, on or about March 19, 2001, MOUTSATSOS and another individual traveled from Connecticut to Geneva, Switzerland, where several thousand dollars in cash were withdrawn from a bank account. Several boxes containing the cash where then shipped back to the U.S. MOUTSATSOS and others failed to disclose to the delivery agents or in United States Customs declarations that the boxes contained bulk cash, each in excess of $10,000.
As a condition of her guilty plea, MOUTSATSOS has agreed to forfeit to the Government $346,104.
"This strict sentence sends the message that individuals who operate criminal enterprises will be held accountable for their actions," U.S. Attorney O'Connor stated. "The U.S. Attorney's Office and our federal law enforcement partners will continue to assist the Hartford police in rooting out illegal activity that damages the quality of life in Hartford's neighborhoods."
In related cases, on March 17, 2004, Gail Gaer of Newington, Connecticut, admitted that she owned and operated the Alpha Club between 1976 and 2002, and pleaded guilty to conspiring to use an interstate facility to promote prostitution, money laundering, and conspiring to smuggle bulk currency into the United States. On March 18, 2004, Reed Jaffe of Rocky Hill, Connecticut, pleaded guilty to conspiring to smuggle bulk currency into the United States. On March 23, 2004, Josephine Ramondetta of Bristol, Connecticut, admitted that she worked as a manager and supervisor at the Alpha Club from 1997 to 2003, and pleaded guilty to conspiring to use an interstate facility to promote prostitution. Gaer, Jaffe and Ramondetta await sentencing.
On May 20, 2005, Rebecca Arrowood, a former manager of the Alpha Club, was sentenced to time served (12 months and 13 days) on her conviction for using interstate facilities to promote prostitution. She had been detained since her arrest in May 2004.
This investigation has been conducted by Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, and by detectives from the Vice Squad of the Hartford Police Department. These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney James G. Genco. ###