Etienne “Tochi” Meyers.
PHILIPSBURG–Owner of the El Capitan and Le Petit Chateau brothels Etienne “Tochi” Meyers (67) and El Capitan’s manager Dulcea Felomina Florentina (57) will be facing dispossession claims of US $4,959,406.66 each, the Prosecutor’s Office officially announced during a preliminary hearing on Wednesday.
The Prosecutor’s Office already announced during a preliminary hearing in the “Pompeii” case that the suspects could be confronted with dispossession claims.
The Court of First Instance on April 24 imposed hefty fines on the owner, manager and supervisor of El Capitan and Le Petit Chateau brothels in the “Pompeii” investigation involving charges of human-trafficking and -smuggling, and of exploitation of brothel workers.
In that case, Meyers was sentenced to payment of a NAf. 1 million fine and three years suspended on two years’ probation, whereas Florentina received two years suspended on three years’ probation and a NAf. 500,000 fine.
Le Petit Chateau’s supervisor Louella Marianella Rog (52), who has not been confronted with a dispossession claim, received one year suspended, on three years’ probation and a NAf. 250,000 fine.
Assistant R.R. (49) was acquitted of all charges for lack of evidence of his involvement in the alleged crimes, as he had played only a minor role in the brothels’ operations.
The defendants committed their crimes between January 2014 and November 2016, against 42 women from the Dominican Republic and Colombia who were employed at the two brothels.
The Prosecutor’s Office filed for appeal in this case, as it believed the suspects should have been sent to prison. The Prosecutor’s Office had called for a prison sentence of four years, one of which to be suspended on two years’ probation for Meyers. Florentina should have been sentenced to three years, one of which to be suspended on two years’ probation, the Prosecutor said.
If it were up to the Prosecutor, Rog and R.R. would both have been sentenced to 24 months, six of which to be suspended on two years’ probation.
Immediately after their verdicts Meyers and Florentina filed for appeal.
Attorney Eldon “Peppie” Sulvaran claimed during the “Pompei” case hearings that it would not be possible to file a dispossession claim, which aims at the recovery of criminal profits, until the suspects’ convictions had become irrevocable.
However, lawyer Cor Merx, who has taken over Meyers’ and Florentina’s defence, said he had no objection. Also, he did not submit requests to hear witnesses.
Merx, who said the case file was “voluminous” and “clear,” submitted a number of questions in writing; for instance, about the list of confiscated goods, which included Florentina’s car.
In dispossession claim cases, the Court ultimately estimates the illegally obtained profits and is not bound by the Prosecution’s demand. Therefore, the Court may also impose a higher amount.
During Wednesday’s proceedings, Merx held the possibility open to reach a settlement with the Prosecutor’s Office. In response, the Prosecutor said he was always willing to talk about a settlement.
Florentina was present during Wednesday’s proceedings, but Meyers was absent for medical reasons, Merx informed the Court.