Pennsylvania State Police trooper among those arrested on gambling, prostitution and other charges

Pennsylvania

MAYFIELD, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — A Pennsylvania State Police trooper and three others have been arrested for their involvement in a club that allegedly harbored illegal activity including gambling and prostitution.

The Pennsylvania State Police announced the arrest of Trooper Robert Covington Jr. of Olyphant for his alleged illegal activity at Sinners Swing Gentlemen’s Club in Mayfield Borough. State police say Covington, 48, has worked for the PSP for 13 years and was assigned to the Bureau of Gaming Enforcement, Pocono Downs Wilkes-Barre Office.

Police say the arrests follow a 17-month investigation, in coordination with the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General.

The investigation began in November 2018 when PSP was notified that a member of the police force, later identified as Covington, owned and operated the Sinners Swing Gentlemen’s Club. According to allegations, the club was used by Covington and his partners to promote illicit activity. Police say Covington and others operated the corrupt organization which allegedly involved prostitution, gambling, and money laundering.

The findings were ultimately presented to a grand jury. State police found that Covington, along with co-owner David Klem, manager Michael Ball and employee Deanna Tallo participate in the alleged crimes.

The in the grand jury report, several employees testified that patrons’ payments for sexual favors with employees of the club would be split with the owners. They say some employees were fired for not performing what was known as “extras” at the business.

The business also allegedly had illegal video gambling machines inside.

According to a press release, Covington was placed on restricted duty for his involvement in the investigation and is currently suspended without pay.

“Members of the PSP take an oath to seek justice without consideration of class, color, creed, or condition, and that means conducting thorough and unbiased investigations into our own troopers when necessary,” Colonel Robert Evanchick, commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police said in a statement. “The criminal conduct uncovered in this case betrays the trust of the communities we serve, and we hope the investigation and the resulting charges demonstrate our department’s commitment to fairness and transparency.”  

The resulting charges are as follows:

Robert Covington Jr., Club Co-owner:

  1. Corrupt Organizations
  2. Criminal Conspiracy
  3. Prostitution and Related Offenses
  4. Gambling Devices, Gambling Etc.
  5. Dealing in Proceeds of Unlawful Activities
  6. Criminal Use of a Communication Facility
  7. Unsworn Falsification to Authorities
  8. Financial Interest Statement Violation

 David Klem, Club Co-owner:

  1. Corrupt Organizations
  2. Criminal Conspiracy
  3. Prostitution and Related Offenses
  4. Gambling Devices, Gambling Etc.
  5. Dealing in Proceeds of Unlawful Activities
  6. Criminal Use of a Communication Facility

 Michael Ball, Club Manager:

  1. Corrupt Organizations
  2. Criminal Conspiracy
  3. Prostitution and Related Offenses
  4. Gambling Devices, Gambling Etc.

 Deanna Tallo, Club Employee:

  1. Corrupt Organizations
  2. Criminal Conspiracy
  3. Prostitution and Related Offenses

“Thank you to our partners at the Pennsylvania State Police for their work on this investigation. At the recommendation of the 44th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury, we are charging four individuals for running an illegal gambling and prostitution ring,” said Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “No one is above the law, and when a member of law enforcement breaks the law and breaks the public trust that all officers are duty-bound to protect — there must be accountability.”

Tallo and Klem have faced previous charges. Tallo smuggled contraband into the Lackawanna County Prison and Klem was arrested in 2013 for running a cocaine distribution operation out of his Olyphant restaurant.

All four are currently out on bail.

The investigation remains ongoing. Anyone with information should contact the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Philadelphia Office, at 215-452-5239. 

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