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Two Women Sentenced to Probation in Boca Raton Sex Ring Case

Backstreet.com is an online market place, similar to Craig’s List where visitors can buy and sell merchandise, search for or offer apartments and houses, post job offers and look for jobs; in addition to buying and selling other goods and services. It also has a section devoted to dating; segregated by the categories of “women looking for men”, “men for women”, “men for men” and “women for women”. There is another section titled “adult” that caters to those looking for escorts, body rubs, strippers & strip clubs, dom & fetish, ts (transsexuals), male escorts, phone & websites (of an adult nature) and adult jobs. When clicking on any of the adult categories a disclaimer appears that asks you to confirm that you are over 18 years of age, and then discloses that the content found in this section of the online market contains “sexual content, including pictorial nudity and adult language.” Before going any further you’re required to click a link that states “I agree” and by doing so you are made aware that you have read the disclaimer and understand it as well as the separate terms of use.
Sara’S Entertainment Service, LLC is a Florida State Limited Liability Company located in Boca Raton. It was registered with the Florida Department of State’s Division of Corporations in Jun 2009. The Registered Agent is Sara J. Abdala, who now goes by the name of Sara Marin. The address listed for the LLC is 22312 Calibre Court Boca Raton, FL 33433 in Palm Beach County. The company used Backstreet.com as one of the means to advertise its services.

In January of this year, Marin, 42, and another woman Denise McCoy, 34 were arrested after police said they operated a business dealing in prostitution under the pretense of a legitimate escort service. According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Boca Raton Police Department, they received money for the crime of money laundering and operating a prostitution ring.

McCoy’s husband Sam was a nine-year veteran of the Boca Raton Police Department and wasn’t charged in the investigation. Boca Raton Mayor, Susan Whelchel spoke her thoughts, speaking about officer McCoy saying “The investigation will prove whatever it proves and if he had absolutely nothing to do with this then he’s a fine person and he will continue,” However, Officer McCoy was placed on paid administrative leave after the arrests of Marin and his wife.

But in May, Officer McCoy resigned his position on the force although according to court records he played no role in his wife’s business, and didn’t have any idea how her money was made. His wife of seven years verified his statement in her testimony.

McCoy was suspended twice before the arrest of his wife. In 2011 he suffered a three-day suspension for taking pictures of his genitals; his explanation being that it was for a document relating to a medical condition. According to city records, the second suspension took place when a Google search performed by Boca Raton’s Human Resources Director showed his name involved with a swinger’s club.

In the resignation letter that he submitted to Police Chief Dan Alexander he made no reference to the allegations against his wife.

“It was a great opportunity for me to serve the citizens of Boca Raton for over nine years,” he wrote. “I look forward to using that experience to assist me in future endeavors.” However, when he was contacted by the Sun Sentinel after his resignation was accepted, Officer McCoy declined comment.

The case against the two women began when the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents informed Boca Raton Police that a 39-year-old Brazilian woman who was detained on immigration violations told them that Mrs. McCoy forced her to work as a prostitute at one of the addresses mentioned above under the danger of going to jail if she didn’t comply.

Carla Sardinha told ICE Agents that she had been working there for nine months and had been having sex with up to a dozen men per day, six days a week, according to police reports.

Throughout the ensuing investigation, police and Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents started watching the two Boca Raton apartments which were the locations where the so called escorts from Sara’S Entertainment met with customers. The two apartments were somewhat hidden just off busy thoroughfares, behind adjacent shopping malls. The apartments were situated at the very far end of the apartment developments located at 22312 Calibre Court which is the legal address listed for Sara’S Entertainment Service and 22042 Boca Place Drive. Officers observed at least seven women in their early to mid-twenties to some women in what appeared to be their mid-30s meet up with male clients and enter the apartments.

Neighbors apparently had no idea of what was going on. Melissa Rosenblatt, 25, a resident of Savannah Place on Calibre Court, said “What? No one had any idea. They kept it under wraps pretty well.”

Last week, Sara Marin pleaded guilty to one count of deriving support from the proceeds of prostitution which is a third-degree felony that has a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Four days later, Mrs. McCoy pleaded guilty to the same charge.

Assistant State Prosecutor Sarah Willis expressed to the judge that she wanted the two women to serve at least some time in the Palm Beach County Jail. However County Circuit Judge Charles Burton sentenced Marin to three years of probation, and then sentenced McCoy to serve two years of probation, four days after his initial decision regarding Marin.

The state also decided to drop the two money laundering charges against the defendants.

Deriving support from the proceeds of prostitution is a serious offense and convictions can be severe. In this particular circumstance the judge handed down a lenient conclusion to the case. However, the penalties of a conviction for sexual crimes can be extremely punitive and often include extensive incarceration, a long-lasting criminal record and having to register as a lifetime sexual offender. If you or someone you know or love is being investigated for, or has been charged with any crime of this type, it is critical to contact an experienced criminal attorney who is skilled in this field and can properly handle the case as well as having the greatest capabilities of protecting your rights.

Mr. Cohen is a board certified criminal trial lawyer rated AV by Martindale Hubbel (pre-eminent) and a “Super Lawyer” recognized as being in the top 5% of his specialized field (criminal trial law) among Florida lawyers. He is considered a specialist by the Florida Bar in his field. Mr. Cohen has tried scores of cases over his 35 year career and is a member of the Florida and New York Bars. He practices in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Miami, among other counties. He is also admitted to practice in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh and Second Circuit.

Mr. Cohen’s practice has recently expanded and he is now a partner in the prestigious law firm of McLaughlin & Stern, LLP. Through this partnership, Mr. Cohen can now lead your defense in the New York Metropolitan area in addition to the Broward, Dade, or Palm Beach County areas as well as all other jurisdictions throughout the state of Florida
Mr. Cohen is also listed in the 2013 edition of “Best Lawyers in America

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