A Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) trooper was arrested over his alleged role in a prostitution and gambling ring that was operated out of a strip club, the police announced in a press release Thursday.
Robert Covington Jr., 48, is facing prostitution, gambling devices, corrupt organizations, and criminal conspiracy charges over his alleged illegal activity at Sinners Swing Gentlemen’s Club in Mayfield, located in northeastern Pennsylvania, the PSP said in a statement.
ARRESTED: A Pennsylvania State Police trooper is one of four charged for allegedly operating a corrupt organization that involved prostitution, gambling and money laundering. https://t.co/2Cf5aW21Oa
— KDKA (@KDKA) February 11, 2021
Covington’s arrest was announced after a 17-month investigation in coordination with the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General. Police say Covington worked for the state police for 13 years in the Bureau of Gaming Enforcement. (RELATED: Ex-Police Detective Allegedly Running Prostitution Ring In NYC)
David Klem, 39, Michael Ball, 49, and Deanna Tallo, 32, are also facing prostitution and corrupt organization charges, among others. Klem was allegedly the club’s co-owner, while Ball was a club manager and Tallo was an employee.
PSP was notified by PSP Troop R that Klem and a member of the police force were operating the Sinners Swing Gentlemen’s Club, leading authorities to open an investigation in November 2018. Covington was later identified as the owner and operator, and he was alleged to have worked with his partners to promote illicit activity such as prostitution, gambling, and money laundering, police said.
Covington was placed on restricted duty during the investigation and is 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 PSP, said in the 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.”
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced that the four are being charged with operating an illegal gambling and prostitution ring.
“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,” he said in the PSP’s statement.
Several police departments across the country have faced scandals related to prostitution, including the NYPD and several departments in California. A retired NYPD detective ran a massive prostitution ring for 18 years before he was caught in 2018.