[A] few days ago, the FBI conducted coordinated raids around the country to break up a nationwide drug and money laundering network. The feds claim the organization used a Hip-Hop club and a strip club franchise as a front to conceal numerous crimes.
|Michael Rose, owner of The Gold Club franchise and officer David Gaither. Both are accused of laundering millions in cocaine proceeds through the strip clubs.|
|Vladimir Handl owns Heat, a popular club in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Handl and Michael Rose, owner of The Gold Club, allegedly laundering millions in cocaine proceeds through their legitimate businesses.|
The feds arrested Vladimir Handl, owner of Heat Ultra Lounge nightclub and Michael Rose, owner of the nationwide franchise, The Gold Club. Both Handl and Rose operated their businesses out of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Handl owns Heat, which has featured rappers and Hip-Hop music as its primary draw. The company even boasts that it was voted “The #1 Hip Hop Club On The Beach.”
Over the past several years, artists like 2 Chainz, Migos, Waka Flocka, Gucci Mane and French Montana have appeared at Heat over the years. Heat also hosted several successful “Black Bike Week” events in recent years.
As for Michael Rose, he controls PML Clubs, which runs The Gold Club and Rose’s Gold Club, a strip club franchise that operates around the country.
On any given night, one of the six Gold Club locations features old school Hip-Hop nights as well as “industry” nights. The Gold Club operates in states like Delaware, North Carolina, South Carolina, New Hampshire and California.
The feds unsealed an indictment a few days ago, alleging the two joined forces and put together a nationwide criminal enterprise that bought and sold cocaine and laundered million of dollars worth of proceeds.
The money was laundered through the companies Handl and Rose managed, including Heat Lounge and The Gold Club.
The FBI claims that the owners created phony invoices and sales contracts and other documents to conceal the dirty money they were laundering.
Rose was well known to Myrtle Beach authorities. He often tangled with local law enforcement officials in court, who claimed his strip clubs were havens for drug dealing and prostitution.
Local prosecutors said they were unaware of the FBI investigation, although they seemed to be pleased with the outcome.
Two other men were also indicted along with Handl and Rose. David Gaither, a former Myrtle Beach Police Officer, and Peter Scalise were also nabbed and charged with racketeering for their role in the organization.
Scalise owned a restaurant in Myrtle Beach that burned down in a fire in 2009.
Peter Scalise, and another man named Edward Hetherton, who was also indicted, had been arrested together in 2010, for stealing millions from innocent homeowners in mortgage scams.
Federal investigators also believe Hetherton and another man named Richard Leyland laundered a few million on their own as well.
|Edward Heterton and Peter Scalise were part of the cocaine/money laundering operation. In 2010, they were busted for stealing millions from consumers through a mortgage scam.|
|Former police officer David Gaither whipped out his goods during a raucous party and was fired from the force.|
David Gaither, the former police officer, was also named in the indictment. He joined the police force in 2000, but he resigned in disgrace after almost a decade of service.
Officer Gaither was terminated in 2009, after he “mooned” a crowd and exposed his penis to revelers that included a group of children, during a party at a venue called The Boathouse in Myrtle Beach.
An attorney for Rose denied all the charges. Like local South Carolina authorities, they were not aware of an investigation into the businesses.
Michael Rose was released on an unsecured $500,000 bond. David Gaither, Peter Scalise, Edward Hetherton and Peter Fink remain behind bars until a court appearance later this week. Handl has not made an appearance yet.
“Mike Rose is going to be pleading not guilty on all charges. We’ll do our talking in court. It is significant that Mike, who has no criminal record, was released on his promise to appear. This shows his strong ties to this community,” his attorney Solomon L. Wisenberg said in a statement.
Everyone in the organization is facing serious prison time. Handl is facing 2,440 years’ imprisonment while Rose is looking at 2,160 years behind bars.
As for Scalise, he could face 2,420 years locked up, and Leyland could serve 110 years. Hetherton could get 90 years of incarceration, Gaither 40 and Fink 20 years.