Strippers drugged men with MDMA and ket to steal thousands in fishing hustle
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It was a smash at the box office, raking in more than £100million and delighting critics.
With Jennifer Lopez leading a cast that also included Constance Wu and rapper Cardi B, Hustlers went down a storm thanks to its slick style and irreverent portrayal of 'Robin Hood' strippers getting one over on "a**hole" clients.
But the real-life case that inspired the film was a darker tale of drugs, drunkenness and ruined lives.
Roselyn “Rosie” Keo began stripping at a local club before moving to bigger opportunities in New York's Times Square at the Flash Dancers club and Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club.
On her best nights she could earn up to £7,000 giving private dances and getting tips and gifts from boozed up Wall Street bankers she has since called "a**holes".
She was also becoming increasingly annoyed at seeing women valued for their bodies, while men were judged on their professional success, money and power.
After leaving to have a baby, when she returned to work the Wall Street bubble had burst. The 2008 financial crash meant bankers were keeping their hands in their pockets and it was harder to earn a living.
So Keo, along with a group of girls, turned to 'fishing' instead – but in this type of fishing the catch is a client.
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The women would find men who were after some fun, to drink and dance and go to a club, hopefully shovelling tips in their direction along the way.
At the club the objective was simple – to get the guy to run up their credit cards, with the girls receiving a cut of the cash from the club. If the men wanted sex, they would bring in a prostitute.
With phones full of contacts from their stripping days, the women had plenty of fish to try to catch, and if the men wanted some narcotic-related 'fun' as well, they would also get them the drugs.
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But there was a problem.
Sometimes the men wouldn't want to go to a club or spend thousands getting wasted, so Keo and her crew decided to help them along the way.
They began secretly slipping a cocktail of ketamine, methylone (street name Molly or MDMA) and cocaine into their drinks. The drugs almost guaranteed the men would party hard, and only have vague memories of it in the morning.
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Keo later told a journalist: "It sounds so bad to say that we were, like, drugging people but it was, like, normal, they had history, they all walked in ready to party.”
Problems started when men started to wake up with a hangover, and massive credit card bills.
One victim, 'Fred', was going through a divorce and his house had been destroyed by a hurricane. He bonded with Keo talking about their children.
He then woke up to find he had spent £17,000. He contacted the police and recorded a conversation with one of the girls who admitted to the drugging and theft.
In another case a cardiologist refused to pay a $135,000 bill charged to his credit card at Scores club, saying he could not have run up that sort of bill unless he had been drugged.
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The DEA and police then launched an investigation but struggled to get men to come forward willing to admit they had been swindled. So the DEA did a sting operation and caught the girls that way.
Keo and three other women were charged with various counts of conspiracy, grand larceny, assault and forgery.
They pleaded guilty. Keo took a plea deal which got her five years of probation, while the others got probation and had to spend four months of weekends in jail.
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A police press release said at the time: "The group’s scheme involved not only the theft of $200,000, but compromised the health, safety and security of victims by covertly giving them harmful substances."
As for Keo now? She has written a book and is a stay at home mum to her daughter.
Hustlers is now available to stream on Amazon Prime.
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