Owner of loan firm arrested

ST. GEORGE, Utah -- Charles Brennan, founder and owner of nearly 50 Dollar Loan Center stores in Nevada, Utah and South Dakota, has been arrested in a prostitution sting in St. George.

Brennan, 42, of Las Vegas was among nine men booked Thursday into the Washington County jail on a misdemeanor charge of patronizing a prostitute, The Spectrum of St. George reported.

The Sioux Falls, S.D., native and the others are accused of offering money to a decoy acting as a prostitute in exchange for sexual favors.

Police spokesman Johnny Heppler said detectives arranged the sting at a local hotel by posting an ad on a website primarily used by men seeking prostitutes.

"They (suspects) then took the additional step by meeting with the decoy and exchanging money, at which point they were arrested," he said.

Brennan was released after posting $587 bond. He did not return phone calls.

In 2007, Entrepreneur Magazine listed Brennan's payday loan company among its "Hot 500" fastest growing businesses. The first store in the chain opened in Las Vegas in 1999, and 33 of its 49 stores are located in Nevada.

In September, the Federal Election Commission cleared Brennan of allegations of improperly contributing money to the 2008 campaign of then-Rep. Jon Porter, R-Nev.