Couple arrested for running prostitution ring
LONG ISLAND, NY (WSVN) -- Federal officials said a couple accused of operating an international prostitution ring that spanned from South Florida to Russia has been arrested.
"You hear about it from other people, and you think that would never happen here, but it can happen anywhere," said one resident near the Long Island home where the couple operated from.
Authorities arrested Vincent and Melissa Lombardo in Long Island, New York on Wednesday for allegedly running the international prostitution ring.
The couple owns a 4,000 square foot home in Boca Raton. Authorities raided that home earlier this week. "I saw the police," said Debbie Wogalter. "I saw the cars. I actually called him at one point not realizing the enormity of the cars, to see if he was OK because I thought something happened to him."
A 34-page criminal complaint filed in New York says the Lombardos ran a website called Aphrodite Companions where they allegedly charged anywhere from $350 an hour to $3,000 a day for services. "Criminal activity is being perpetuated through the Internet at an exponential rate," said Former Boca Raton Police Chief Andrew Scott.
Authorities found an e-mail from the couple saying they needed to fly women to Miami to party with prominent politicians, lawyers and businessman who were looking for companionship. "If you hook somebody up with an escort service and those two individuals make a deal with each other that's illegal, does that implicate the arranger?" said an investigator. "We've got to see what the evidence of that fact is."
Police said the couple promoted their business with the help of another site that reviews prostitutes on their performance.
Officials are calling it the "Angie's List" of call girl sites. The couple even offered discounts to customers who leave feedback. "They're no longer a human being, they're just an item, an item to be discarded or an item to make money off of," said Scott.
Investigators said the couple made millions from the women who allegedly gave them a 30 to 40 percent cut of profits.
Authorities believe the couple used the money to purchase their $500,000 Boca Raton home.
Wolgater said she would have never expected this from her neighbors. "When I saw them outside, they were always friendly, very protective of us because it is just myself and my son here," she said.
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