Pa. state trooper, 3 others accused of illegal activity at strip club

The Associated Press
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MAYFIELD — A Pennsylvania state trooper and three other people were charged Thursday with operating a corrupt organization involving prostitution, gambling and money laundering at a Lackawanna County strip club the trooper co-owns.

Robert Covington Jr., 48, who has served with the state police for 13 years, surrendered at the state police barracks in Dunmore and was suspended without pay. He was assigned with the Bureau of Gaming Enforcement division and had been on restricted duty while the investigation was ongoing.

State police officials said Covington and David Klem, 39, of Eynon, co-own the Sinners Swing Gentlemen’s Club in Mayfield, near Scranton. In November 2018, the state police’s criminal investigation bureau received information that the club was being used to promote illicit activity.

A probe was launched, and a state grand jury recently recommended that several charges be filed against Covington, Klem and the two other defendants — Michael Ball, 49, of Dalton, a manager at the club, and Deanna Tallo, 32, of Throop, who worked at the business.

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It wasn’t known Thursday if any of the defendants have attorneys who could speak for them.

Covington and Klem were each charged with corrupt organization; criminal conspiracy; prostitution and related offenses; gambling; dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities; and criminal use of communication facility. Covington also faces counts of unsworn falsification to authorities and a violation of submitting a financial interest statement.

Ball and Tallo were each charged with corrupt organizations; criminal conspiracy; and prostitution and related offenses. Ball also faces a gambling charge.

The case was investigated by the state police and the state Attorney General’s Office.

“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,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said in a statement announcing the charges.