Couple to appear in Brooklyn federal court on charges of facilitating prostitution ring
A married Florida couple was arrested in Long Island Wednesday and appeared in Brooklyn Federal Court on Thursday on money laundering and prostitution charges.
Vincent and Mellissa Lombardo, Florida residents, are the owners of aphroditecompanions.com, a website that was allegedly used for prostitution purposes. According the federal complaint against the Lombardos, the website included links to web pages depicting photos of prostitutes partially clothed or naked and in sexually explicit poses.
The site also displayed the schedule for each prostitute and the city where she was available; many of the girls traveled across state lines to be more available for hire. In exchange for the advertising and related services, it is alleged that the prostitutes paid the Lombardos 30-40 percent of their fee, which was often hundreds of dollars.
It is also alleged that the Lombardos were connected to a website, theeroticreview.com, where “johns” can rate their experience with various prostitutes. The federal investigation revealed that Aphroditecompanions.com often offered discounts to customers that posted reviews on the rating website after a date with one of the Aphrodite companions.
The complaint outlines a number of email exchanges purportedly between Mellissa Lombardo and various escorts. The emails detail some of the sexual services the escorts were required to perform, the screening process for escorts, and the schedule and rates for some escorts.
One email in particular was an ad sent out to many of the Aphrodite companion escorts seeking “TWO LADIES FOR MULTI DAY TRIPS WITH CLIENTS. ONE TRIP REQUIRES A PASSPORT.” The trip requiring a passport was with a London businessman seeking a companion for a weeklong trip to South Africa at a rate of $3,000 a day.
A duty magistrate presided over the appearance of the Lombardos on the charges of money laundering related to running a prostitution service.
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