NEW CITY – A sting put together by the Rockland District Attorney’s Office and Clarkstown PD netted five suspects on a variety of charges last week.
The suspects, most of whom were alleged “johns” who sought to solicit the service of prostitutes, were busted with the assistance of female police officers who posed as online escorts. The officers would place ads on popular internet sites to draw “in calls” and “out calls” from potential customers.
Among those arrested were Michael Greenberg, 36, of Nanuet, Anthony Tozzi, 55, of Mahwah, Segundo Lopez, 34, of Suffern, Zalmen Pollak, 59, of Monsey and Evens Francois, 37, of Chestnut Ridge. All were charged with patronizing a prostitute in the third degree.
In addition, two of the suspects were arrested on drug charges. Greenberg was slapped with one count of unlawful possession of marijuana while Tozzi incurred two charges of criminal possession of a controlled substance, one for mere possession and one for intent to sell. According to authorities, Tozzi attempted to exchange the drugs for sex.
Rockland DA vowed the new arrests were only a continuation of ongoing efforts to crack down as prostitution, which he framed as a human rights issue rather than a mere business transaction.
“Sex trafficking continues to destroy countless lives,” Zugibe said in a press release. “This undercover sting should send a strong message to prospective johns that their hobby is not a victimless crime, but rather a terrifying and despicable offense against some of our most vulnerable populations.”
According to Clarkstown Police Chief Michael Sullivan, the sting also took aim at local hotels and motels which have seen a rise in both independent and organized prostitution activity.
The arrests are the first major prostitution sting in 2015. In 2014, the county saw a glut of cases against customers and workers in the sex induustry including the August arrest of two Queens women who ran a storefront spa in Nyack, the July arrest of seven women who worked as prostitutes at various spas across the county and a broad sweep in February that reined in 17 men accused of soliciting prostitution, human trafficking and drug possession prior to the Super Bowl.