New York City strippers accused of drugging patrons, running up credit cards

N.J. Burkett has details on how the alleged scam worked.
Authorities say a crew of New York City strippers scammed wealthy men by drugging them and running up extravagant bills at topless clubs while they were in a daze.

The four strippers arrested in the case are accused of slipping ketamine, cocaine, tranquilizers and Molly into the patrons' drinks before taking them around strip clubs in Manhattan and Queens, where they ran up their credit cards for more than $200,000.

A strip club manager was also taken into custody, as police allege the clubs paid the women as part the scam. The businesses aren't facing criminal charges, though.

The roundup followed an undercover investigation that found that the women joined in a scheme to rip off the men by drugging 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 Flushing, Queens, where they were charged for private rooms, expensive meals, drinks and other services, they said.

Drug Enforcement Administration and New York Police Department investigators arrested four women - all described as professional strippers - earlier this week.

They are identified as Samantha Barbash, Roselyn Keo, Karina Pasucci and Marsi Rosen, were charged with conspiracy, grand larceny, assault and forgery. The manager at the RoadHouse Club, Carmine Vitolo, was charged with conspiracy, grand larceny and tampering with physical evidence.

One of the women was expected to appear in state court in Manhattan later Wednesday following appearances Tuesday by the other three, including suspected ringleader Samantha Barbash. Her attorney did not immediately respond to a comment request.

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 strippers allegedly blackmailed some of the men with sexually explicit photos of them in compromising positions they took after they were secretly drugged. Many of the photos were taken at the Hotel Gansevoort in the Meatpacking District.

Law enforcement officials have identified 41-year-old Ziyad Younan as one of the victims. Younan, a doctor from Holmdel, New Jersey, sued Scores New York for a $135,303 charge on his corporate American Express credit card.

Younan claimed in the suit that he wasn't there, but Scores had him on video on four occasions over a 10-day period, on Nov. 17, 23, 26 and 28.

According to the criminal complaint, Pascucci was alone when she first took Younan to Scores. By their third trip, all four defendants were with him.

It is now believed Younan was drugged at the time and did not remember the strip club visits.

"He is the perfect example," a law enforcement source said. "If he contested the charges, they would release photos, contact the media and contact his employer."

(Information from the Associated Press was used in this report)
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