Strip club owner enters guilty plea - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Janice Broach

Strip club owner enters guilty plea

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Topless nightclub owner Ralph Lunati entered a guilty plea Monday afternoon to charges of conspiracy to use a facility of interstate commerce to promote prostitution.

Pending a judge's approval, Lunati will receive an 18 month federal jail sentence and receive to fine.

Lunati will also lose his interests in Platinum Plus, a club in the 2500 block of Mt. Moriah, and Tunica Cabaret and Resort, a club located on U.S. 61 South.  He will also lose money seized during raids at the clubs, totally more than $220,000.

Prosecutors describe Ralph Lunati as a big fish in the topless nightclub business, not just in Memphis, but other parts of the U.S.

Lunati owned Platinum Plus and is part owner of Tunica Cabaret and Resort. The feds will get both clubs and the land they are on.

The state will get what's inside. State prosecutor John Campbell says Lunati's guilty plea is a big deal.

"It's kind of like getting the death penalty in a way basically he is actually getting jail time. What that sentence is is up to Judge Mays to decide. He's looking at at least 18 months in federal prison with no parole, that's 18 months," says Campbell.

A federal judge could decide to give Lunati more time. In affadavits, officers said they saw drug trafficking and dancers performing live sex shows.

Lunati is scheduled to be sentenced in February. He is out on bond.


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