Former West Palm nightclub owner indicted in gambling, prostitution case

Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 2:25 PM EST
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The one-time owner of a West Palm Beach nightclub is among those facing a variety of federal charges in connection with an illegal sports gambling operation and prostitution case.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced Wednesday an 18-count indictment charging Dion De Cesare, 52, — the former owner of the Renegades restaurant and nightclub — along with five others.

The suspects are accused of operating an illegal sports gambling business, conspiracy to use cellular telephones to carry out gambling and prostitution activities, conspiracy and substantive money laundering and evading taxes.

The indictment alleges that from around April 2008 to about November 2022, De Cesare and his front company, HERE LLC, used two commercial establishments — Whispers All Girls Staff and NXT — to provide an array of prostitution services to customers.

Prosecutors also said that from May 2015 to September 2021, De Cesare allegedly conspired with others, including his co-defendants Josh Peasley, 62, of Huntington Beach, California, and Kelly Lizza, 41, of West Palm Beach, to operate a sports gambling business. The operation was run through a website based in Costa Rica, where wagers on sporting events take place, according to the indictment.

Investigators said that from 2011 to 2017, De Cesare owned the country bar and grill Renegades located on Village Boulevard in West Palm Beach.

They said that between 2011 and 2013 and from 2015 to 2016, he and his business partner failed to pay personal and payroll taxes, resulting in a substantial amount of tax debt due.

Prosecutors said that De Cesare conspired with Peasley, Lizza, and co-defendants Aundrey Aarons, 41, and Mark Paolantonio, 62, both of West Palm Beach, to launder his gambling proceeds by having gamblers who owed him money pay through third-party entities and individuals.

Nine West Palm Beach properties and one vehicle are subject to criminal forfeiture, according to the indictment.

De Cesare faces up to 50 years in prison for gambling, prostitution and money laundering.

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