Carencro club's co-owner admits prostitution
LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — The co-owner of a closed strip club in Carencro has pleaded guilty to illegally making at least $500,000 from prostitution at Desperado's Cabaret.
Dipvak Vora, 70, of Baton Rouge, pleaded guilty Friday to a one-count bill of information charging him with engaging in interstate travel in aid of racketeering by receiving illegal proceeds from prostitution, U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley said Friday.
He could get up to five years and a $250,000 fine at sentencing June 11. As part of his plea agreement, Vora agreed to forfeit Desperado's, which was closed after a federal raid in December 2012, and $500,000.
Vora had been indicted on racketeering, which carries up to 20 years in prison.
He admitting knowing as early as 2006 that prostitution was going on at Desperado's.
He was among 10 people indicted in May. Five have pleaded guilty.
Co-owner James Panos and his wife, Jennifer, are among five scheduled for trial May 12.
Vora, a retired chemical engineer, was the club's landlord until he paid Panos $40,000 for a share in the club.
Vora admitted traveling once or twice a week from Baton Rouge to Carencro to collect money from Panos — $3,000 a week until 2011, when his weekly share dropped to $2,000.
Vora said he would often put the cash in his vehicle, then go in to enjoy free drinks and the dancers' company.
After the raid, prosecutors said months of investigation had turned up evidence of open use and sales of illegal drugs and prostitution with free condoms in the club's VIP room.