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Mass. man who owns Connecticut strip club facing prostitution, fraud charges, U.S. Attorney says

TOLLAND, Conn. — A Massachusetts man who owns a strip club in Connecticut has been indicted on prostitution and fraud charges, along with the establishment’s manager and bouncer, federal prosecutors announced Wednesday.

A federal grand jury in Hartford returned a 12-count indictment charging 67-year-old Kenneth Denning, of Holland, Massachusetts, with conspiracy to use an interstate facility to promote or facilitate prostitution, conspiracy to file false tax returns, engaging in a monetary transaction with proceeds derived from prostitution, unlawful employment of aliens, aiding and abetting the filing of a false tax return related to his tax return, and wire fraud according to the U.S. Attorney for Connecticut Vanessa Avery’s office.

Joshua Baker, 41, of Willimantic, Connecticut, is charged with conspiracy to use an interstate facility to promote or facilitate prostitution, conspiracy to file false tax returns, conspiracy to commit promotional and concealment money laundering, and unlawful employment of aliens, while William Mayo, 41, of Manchester, Connecticut, faces charges of conspiracy to use an interstate facility to promote or facilitate prostitution and unlawful employment of aliens.

Denning owned and oversaw the operation of the Electric Blue strip club in Tolland, which included the employment of dancers who performed nude dances and lap dances for customers, while Baker served as the club’s manager and bookkeeper, and Mayo was employed as a bouncer tasked with hiring dancers, many of whom were not legally authorized to live or work in the United States, the indictment alleges.

Prosecutors say the Electric Blue had a semi-private “lap dance room” and “VIP rooms” where dancers regularly performed commercial sex acts for customers.

“As payment for commercial sex acts, customers would typically pay the club an entry fee for use of the lap dance room or one of the VIP rooms and then pay an additional fee directly to the dancer,” the indictment stated. “The club collected cash through cover charges paid at the door and fees paid by dancers to perform at the club.”

Baker allegedly collected the cash received by the club, placed the cash in envelopes noting the source of the cash, and then placed the envelopes in a safe in Denning’s office.

“The defendants referred to this cash as ‘Kenny’s money,’ and used this money to pay business expenses and fund Denning’s personal expenditures, including trips to casinos where Denning spent large sums of money,” the indictment stated.

Denning and Baker are accused of providing false information to the club’s tax return preparer in 2020, 2021, and 2022 by underreporting the gross receipts from the club and excluding income derived from commercial sex acts. Denning also allegedly committed fraud by applying for and receiving an Economic Injury Disaster Loan committed fraud by applying for and receiving an Economic Injury Disaster Loan, leading to a loan of about $150,000.

“As much as approximately $5.7 million in business receipts were not reported to the IRS, causing a tax underpayment of more than $2 million,” the indictment stated.

Any employee or dancer at Electric Blue who was subjected to the unlawful acts described in the indictment is urged to contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office Victim Advocate at 203-696-3039.

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