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Scandal Gives Peek Inside Call-Girl Ring

•  Political and Legal     updated  2008/03/11 20:30

If a customer had the money, Emperors Club VIP had the women. For the right price, the New York escort service flew prostitutes to Beverly Hills and London, Miami and Paris. A trip to Europe could cost more than $25,000. An hour could run $5,500.

The business had a colorful cast of characters: Leggy models with names like Raquel, Chrissy and Maya; a booking agent who graduated from an elite New Jersey prep school; an owner with a background in financial consulting; and wealthy customers such as the governor of New York.

Eliot Spitzer's resignation over his links to the club will forever make it synonymous with a historic sex scandal.

The agency generated at least $1 million in the past four years by supplying call girls to an untold number of wealthy clients, prosecutors said.

But its profitable run came to end last week after federal agents shut down the service based on hundreds of intercepted phone calls and text messages. In doing so, the agents also pulled back the curtain on a lucrative operation.

"This is definitely at the high end," said Ron Weitzer, a sociology professor at George Washington University and an expert on the sex industry.

Mark Brener, 62, and Cecil "Katie" Suwal, 23, are accused of running the agency.

Brener, an Israeli native with an expertise in financial consulting, recruited the prostitutes and marketed the club, and Suwal, who graduated from the prestigious Blair Academy in New Jersey, handled its day-to-day operations, prosecutors said.

The business apparently didn't need much to get started other than cell phones and a tempting Web site that offered call-girl profiles.

Take "Anais" for instance.

"Her vibrant personality and positive, free-spirited perspective ensure the perfect evening. Meet gorgeous Anais and discover the splendor of life all over again," the Web site said.

Another escort named "Maya" claims to have won the Miss Hawaiian Tropic contest and has an "incomparable look and electrifying presence."

The Emperors Club offered more than 50 girls, saying they are "the types of women who can handle themselves well in any situation." They were given diamond ratings, which allowed the agency to charge more. More diamonds equaled more money.

To handle the trysts, the club sought out reliable booking agents — smart, efficient women who could bring client and call girl together without hassles.

According to court records, the two primary booking agents were Tania Hollander, 36, and Temeka Lewis, 23. Hollander is a SUNY Binghamton graduate, and Lewis who attended the University of Virginia, one the top public schools in the country.

The idea behind the agency was conceived in December 2004, according to the federal complaint. That year, Suwal created a shell company called QAT Consulting Group and later QAT International — both fronts for the agency, authorities said.

Clients could pay for the services with money orders or wire transfers and even use their American Express cards.

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