Posted on: February 12, 2021, 03:27h.
Last updated on: February 12, 2021, 03:51h.
A Pennsylvania state trooper whose job by day involved patrolling the Mohegan Sun Pocono on the outskirts of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania wore a different hat when the sun set. He was, by night, promoting prostitution and illegal gambling as proprietor of the Sinners Swing strip club in nearby Mayfield.
Trooper Robert Covington Jr., 48, was charged by a statewide grand jury Thursday with running a corrupt organization, conspiracy, promoting prostitution, operating illegal gambling devices, dealing with the proceeds of unlawful activities, criminal use of a cell phone, lying to a state trooper, and failing to account for his ownership of the club on a state financial disclosure form.
The 13-year veteran of the Pennsylvania State Police was assigned with the Bureau of Gaming Enforcement division. He is currently suspended without pay.
Covington is one of four charged with various crimes in relation to the strip club’s operations. The others are co-owner David Klem, 39; Covington’s friend and the club’s manager, Michael Ball, 49; and Deanna Tallo, 32, a stripper at the club.
Klem, who goes by “Flava Dave,” has spent time in prison for selling drugs from the back room of his pizza restaurant, while Tallo has a conviction for smuggling drugs and tobacco into Lackawanna County Prison.
The defendants were arraigned in front of Magisterial District Judge Laura Turlip. Preliminary hearings are set for noon on Feb. 23.
According to the charges, the strippers earned no salaries, only tips. They earned bigger tips for private dances and even more for “extras” — sex acts they were encouraged by management to perform on big-spending customers in the club’s VIP rooms. One dancer told the grand jury she could earn $2,000 to $4,000 a week from extras.
In March, state troopers seized five illegal video terminals from the premises after undercover officers had witnessed them pay out jackpots ranging from $15 to $160.
According to the charges, Covington was often present when customers paid for sex acts and gambled on the machines. In fact, prosecutors believe he played a significant role in managing the operation, despite having removed himself as an official owner in papers filed with the state.
But in February last year, he boasted to a colleague, “Did I tell you I’m a silent partner in a strip club? I went halves with my friend in 2018. I told him I can’t have any hand in daily operations till I hit my 20 yr mark lol. I’m almost making my PSP salary there.”
Covington earned $98,228 a year as a state trooper, according to The Citizen Voice.
In 2016, Covington was accused of raping a former Mohegan Sun cocktail waitress, Christine Cromer, in his car outside the casino. Cromer was later found guilty of making a false rape claim and was imprisoned.