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Bikini Coffee Shop Owner Hit With Prostitution Charges

Aug 31, 2014

For the past few years, some coffee shops in Washington state have been taking the idea of customer service a little too far.

A former owner of a Seattle-area "bikini coffee shop" was charged with money laundering and promoting prostitution Thursday, after her baristas allegedly served up sex acts to customers as well as hot drinks, CBS News reports.

Documents claim the "bikini baristas" charged $14 to flash their genitals or breasts at customers, and more for sexual acts.

Prosecutors in Shnohomish County allege that Carmela Panico collected more than $2 million in three years through her illegal business offerings. Panico, a former erotic dancer, managed to skip out on paying her full taxes by operating largely in cash — officials found more than $250,000 during a home raid in 2013.

She may have also had some help from the inside: authorities allege that Darrell O'Neill, a sheriff's sergeant, gave Panico and her employees the heads-up about police investigations in return for sexual favors.

The coffee stand, Java Juggs, was one of seven locations police busted for charges related to prostitution and lewd contact. According to court documents, Panico would dock employees' pay if the women weren't wearing high heels or adequate makeup.

An attorney for Panico said the 52-year-old, feeling a little burned by the coffee business, has left the industry for good.

[CBS News]

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