Criminal Justice

Owner of bikini coffee stands pleads guilty to promoting prostitution, money laundering


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The owner of controversial drive-thru Washington state espresso stands featuring scantily attired baristas who allegedly did a lot more than just serve hot coffee to customers has taken a plea.

Carmela Panico, 52, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to felony counts of money laundering and promoting prostitution in Snohomish County Circuit Court, reports the Herald.

The former exotic dancer will also give up to the city of Everett her five coffee stands, including Java Juggs and Twin Peaks, as well as $250,000 previously seized by police.

And she is expected to cooperate in related prosecution against others, which could include a case against a former county sheriff’s sergeant accused of tipping her off about law enforcement activities, the newspaper reports.

Authorities contend that baristas who worked at the coffee stands got hefty tips for additional services, with some earning hundreds of thousands of dollars per year through stripping and sex acts.

Hat tip: Associated Press.

See also:

ABAJournal.com: “Coffee Shop Owner Guilty of Indecent Exposure Due to Skimpy See-Through Shorts on ‘Bikini Barista’”

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