PHOENIX -- After a two year investigation, officers from the Phoenix Police Dept. arrested multiple people in connection with a prostitution ring.
Police served search warrants at a business near 40th Street and Interstate 10, and at a home in Surprise on 111th Place around 8 a.m.. Tuesday morning.
The business, Champagne Room, is billed as a 24-hour strip club, but Sgt. Steve Martos with the Phoenix Police Dept. said it was actually a house of prostitution, where customers would enter, be taken to a back room, and be given a "menu" to select from a list of services.
“The John, if you will, was provided a menu. That menu would give them an idea of what they needed to pay for particular sex acts. That payment ranged anywhere from $300-$900,” Martos said.
According to Martos, police began the investigation after receiving complaints from nearby business owners. The investigation took such a long time because the owners of the Champagne Room took precautions to avoid allowing undercover agents to enter their establishment.
“It took so long to get probable cause to obtain a search warrant because the owners were very savvy and had steps in place to weed out undercover cops,” said Martos.
The Champagne Room is located in the middle of an industrial area of Phoenix, and one woman who works nearby said it stuck out.
“There’s a lot of loud music when you’d drive by in the afternoon. Girls standing outside. Standing on the street corner with flip signs,” said Shawne Wilson who drives by Champagne Room everyday on her way to work.
Two women and a man were arrested at the business Tuesday morning. Two more people were arrested at the home in Surprise, where police said the owners of the Champagne Room lived.
Mike Boyle, who lives nearby, said he had met the homeowners and was not surprised to see Phoenix Police officers at the home Tuesday morning.
“I was told when I moved in here that she was an escort, the mom, and there were always cars coming in and out,” Boyle said.
Boyle also said his wife saw some strange things in the house.
“She took my daughter trick-or-treating there at Halloween,” he said, “My wife saw over my daughter’s head as she was giving the candy a king sized bed and big cameras in the living room.”
A phone number listed on the door of Champagne Room leads callers to a recorded voice of a woman promising “the sexiest club on earth.”
While detectives have not released the names of anybody involved in the incident, public documents filed with the Arizona Corporation Commission list Janet Fiore as the statutory agent and director of The Champagne Room 2. That paperwork was filed in June 2012 and updated in July.
The original ACC paperwork for The Champagne Room, also listing Fiore, was filed in January 2006. According to that document, the business was incorporated on Sept. 22, 2005. It was dissolved in September 2008.
According to Martos, more arrests are possible. The people arrested face a variety of charges including control of an illegal enterprise, money laundering, prostitution, receiving earnings of prostitution, and pandering.