Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 11:11 AM

  • Share:
           
  • Comments
  • Print

Barista-stand owner faces prostitution charge

The owner of bikini coffee stands in Washington state banked more than $2 million in just three years because her baristas were also selling sex acts, according to local prosecutors.


The Associate Press

Reader Comments
Hide / Show comments
Ordering coffee drinks is complicated enough when all you want is coffee. So is that a... MORE
This is so stupid. If people want to pay money to touch women's boobs or whatever, why is it anyone's business except... MORE
Ridiculous waste of taxpayer dollars. MORE

advertising

EVERETT — The owner of bikini coffee stands in Snohomish County banked more than $2 million in just three years because her baristas were also selling sex acts, according to local prosecutors.

Snohomish County prosecutors charged Carmela Panico, a 52-year-old former nude dancer, with promoting prostitution and money laundering, alleging that she operated drive-thru brothels throughout the county north of Seattle, The Everett Herald reported.

Her baristas made money mostly on tips, saying they could earn hundreds of thousands of dollars, authorities said. The women said they could make up to $14 for baring their breasts or genitals and charged more for sex acts, according to charging documents.

“Panico’s businesses were driven by prostitution and lewd behavior,” Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Bob Hendrix wrote in the documents. Panico was charged Thursday, the newspaper reported.

Her attorney told Snohomish County Superior Court that she left the coffee business and sold some of her stands and leased others.

Authorities allege that she didn’t report her full earnings to the Internal Revenue Service by dealing in large amounts of cash. A search at Panico’s home last year resulted in the seizure of nearly $250,000.

The investigation has also led to the prosecution of a veteran sheriff’s sergeant. Darrell O’Neill is accused of tipping off Panico and her workers to police scrutiny in return for sexual favors. O’Neill resigned after his arrest last year and has pleaded not guilty. His trial is scheduled for November.

Authorities allege that baristas had a certain dollar amount they were supposed to make for Panico, and the rest the women could keep.

“The sales goals were effectively rent that the girls paid to have the opportunity to perform lewd conduct or acts of prostitution,” Hendrix wrote.

The documents say that Panico could deduct money if the women failed to wear high heels throughout their shifts, did not have a tan or failed to put on makeup.



Want unlimited access to seattletimes.com? Subscribe now!

Also in Local News

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon

Where in the world are Seahawks fans?

Where in the world are Seahawks fans?

Put your marker on The Seattle Times interactive map and share your fan story.

Advertising

Partner Video

Advertising

Career Center Blog

Career Center Blog

Bad email habits to break today


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►