'Operation Lovejoy': Eight charged in alleged prostitution scheme

News-DemocratMay 17, 2014 

— Eight people were charged in an alleged money laundering and prostitution scheme that operated for more than 10 years.

Each suspect was charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit money laundering and one count of conspiracy to keep a place of prostitution.

Also, Crown Unlimited Inc., doing business as the Bottoms Up strip club, was charged in the case.

The alleged scheme ran from Aug. 5, 2003, to Dec. 2, 2013.

The following persons were charged:

Charles L. Chandler Jr., 54, of 8923 Old Bunkum Road, Fairview Heights; Julia M. Fowler, 32, of 309 Madison St., Brooklyn; Lori R. Fowler, 29, of 2025 Rhodes, Madison; Deborah J. Perkinson, 49, of 100 Spring Glen, Collinsville; Sonny Henry, 70, of 213 Sheffield Court, Fairview Heights; Jason E. Henry, 34, 1905 Belmont Ave., East St. Louis; Beulah M. Henry, 71, of 213 Sheffield Court, Fairview Heights; Timothy L. Lewis, 75, of 702 N. 75th St., East St. Louis.

They are arrested in the past week and bonded out of jail.

The charging document says they agreed with each other to engage in financial transactions knowing that the property involved in financial transactions represented the proceeds of prostitution. They also attempted to conduct a financial transaction in excess of $500,000 to promote illegal activity and the transactions were designed to conceal or disguise, the nature, location and source, ownership or the control of the criminally derived property and deposited the money into a bank.

The police operation was named "Operation Lovejoy."

During the police sting last year, several health code violations were found at the Bottoms Up and Pink Slip strip clubs.

At Bottoms Up, members of the Metropolitan Enforcement Group of Southern Illinois, under the direction of Joe Beliveau, found human waste, used condoms and food safety violations, St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly said at the time.

Deputies with the St. Clair County Sheriff's Department issued numerous citations for building and environmental code violations.

Brooklyn Police Chief Tony Tomlinson said he was grateful for all of the work the agencies did to help clean up Brooklyn.

"I think it sends a good message that the Brooklyn Police Department is a little bit bigger than just the officers in Brooklyn," Tomlinson said.

Kelly said his office along with the Brooklyn Police Department and Illinois State Police will keep a watchful eye out for criminal activity in Brooklyn.

"The Illinois State Police, the Brooklyn Police Department, and State's Attorney's attorney office is going to continue its efforts to disrupt activity at locations that are magnets for crime," Kelly said.

Kelly has requested the Brooklyn Police Department and the Village Board to take action with regards to liquor licenses in Brooklyn.

He said some of the club owners in Brooklyn are working "with village leaders to pass a new liquor ordinance with two levels of licenses that gives them the flexibility to close some clubs earlier."

Kelly said, "That's better than what they had before, which was no regulations whatsoever."

Contact reporter Carolyn P. Smith at 618-239-2503.

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