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Escort service operator indicted

The operator of a large escort service was indicted by a federal grand jury Tuesday on a charge of unlawfully structuring roughly $2.4 million in transactions to evade financial reporting requirements.

Emmanouil “Manny” Varagiannis, 42, also the former general manager of the popular strip club Olympic Garden, was arrested by Internal Revenue Service agents last month and released on his own recognizance.

He faces a Dec. 7 arraignment on the charge linked to his escort service, Midnight Inc.

Between January 2009 and August 2012, the indictment alleges, Varagiannis made dozens of cash deposits of less than $10,000 to bank and credit union accounts under his control. Federal laws designed to prevent money laundering require the reporting of all cash transactions exceeding $10,000.

Prosecutors also filed a forfeiture charge against Varagiannis on Tuesday seeking to force him to turn over the
$2.4 million and some property to the government if he is convicted.

The criminal case, brought by a financial crimes task force run by the IRS, is thought to be the first in a crackdown on the lucrative escort service business, long regarded as a haven for prostitution on the Strip. Las Vegas police are part of the task force.

According to federal authorities, Varagiannis is not listed as an officer of Midnight Inc., which does business as Midnight Entertainers. But he and his wife, Amy, are the signers on all of the company’s business accounts.

State records show that Amy Varagiannis, who has not been charged in the investigation, is the president of Midnight Inc., which was incorporated in 2003. The company provides female outcall “entertainers” directly to the hotel rooms of tourists on the Strip.

Contact Jeff German at
jgerman@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-8135.

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