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State trooper among those accused of running prostitution, gambling ring out of Lackawanna County gentlemen's club

Trooper Robert E. Covington Jr., 48, was allegedly co-owner of the Sinners Swing Gentlemen's Club, where the alleged activity occurred. He and 3 others are charged.
Credit: FOX43

MAYFIELD, Pa. — A Pennsylvania State Police trooper is among four men arrested for alleged involvement in illegal activity at a Lackawanna County gentlemen's club, State Police announced Thursday.

Trooper Robert E. Covington Jr., 48, a 13-year veteran of the police force, was allegedly co-owner of the Sinners Swing Gentlemen's Club in Mayfield Borough, police say. 

He, along with the club's other co-owner and two employees, are accused of promoting illicit activity involving prostitution, gambling, and money laundering, according to police.

Covington was assigned to the Bureau of Gaming Enforcement's Pocono Downs Wilkes-Barre Office, State Police said in a press release announcing the charges. He had been on restricted duty during the investigation of the allegations against him and is currently suspended without pay pending resolution of the charges, according to State Police.

Also charged were: 

  • David P. Klem, 39, of Eynon, PA, the club's co-owner
  • Michael P. Ball, 49, of Dalton, PA, the club's manager
  • Deanna E. Tallo, 32, of Troop, PA, a club employee

The arrests follow a 17-month investigation by members of the Pennsylvania State Police, in partnership with prosecutors from the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General.

“Members of the PSP take an oath to seek justice without consideration of class, color, creed, or condition, and that means conducting thorough and unbiased investigations into our own troopers when necessary,” said Colonel Robert Evanchick, commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police. “The criminal conduct uncovered in this case betrays the trust of the communities we serve, and we hope the investigation and the resulting charges demonstrate our department’s commitment to fairness and transparency.”

In November 2018, the PSP Bureau of Criminal Investigation received information from PSP Troop R that David Klem and his business partner, an active-duty member of PSP later identified as Covington, owned and operated Sinners Swing Gentlemen’s Club. 

Initial allegations indicated the club was being used to promote illicit activity.

The investigation developed evidence that was presented to a statewide investigating grand jury alleging that Covington, Klem, and the other co-defendants were operating a corrupt organization.

Covington is charged with:

  • Corrupt Organizations
  • Criminal Conspiracy
  • Prostitution and Related Offenses
  • Gambling Devices, Gambling, Etc.
  • Dealing in Proceeds of Unlawful Activities
  • Criminal Use of a Communication Facilty
  • Unsworn Falsification to Authorities
  • Financial Interest Statement Violation

Klem is charged with:

  • Corrupt Organizations
  • Criminal Conspiracy
  • Prostitution and Related Offenses
  • Gambling Devices, Gambling, Etc.
  • Dealing in Proceeds of Unlawful Activities
  • Criminal Use of a Communication Facilty

Ball is charged with:

  • Corrupt Organizations
  • Criminal Conspiracy
  • Prostitution and Related Offenses
  • Gambling Devices, Gambling, Etc.

Tallo is charged with:

  • Corrupt Organizations
  • Criminal Conspiracy
  • Prostitution and Related Offenses

The case was investigated by the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation; Senior Deputy Attorney General Erik L. Olsen and Assistant Chief Deputy Attorney General Adrian S. Shchuka, Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, are prosecuting the case.

“Thank you to our partners at the Pennsylvania State Police for their work on this investigation," Attorney General Josh Shapiro said in a statement. "At the recommendation of the 44th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury, we are charging four individuals for running an illegal gambling and prostitution ring.

"No one is above the law, and when a member of law enforcement breaks the law and breaks the public trust that all officers are duty-bound to protect — there must be accountability.”

The four individuals charged surrendered today at Troop R, Dunmore. Charges were filed in Magisterial District Court 45-3-04.