Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Investigators: Man really did spend $50,000 in strip club

LARGO — So, honey, about that $50,000 strip club bill …

A newly released Pinellas sheriff's report calls Lokesh James' claims of theft at Bliss Cabaret "unfounded." James, detectives wrote, spent the money himself.

The Tampa Bay Times reported last week on a lawsuit James filed over the charges Bliss made to his credit card. James said he spent only about $600 on some Michelob Ultra and time in a champagne room. He said a bartender forged his signature on a dozen charges, turning his night into a $50,000 stripper spending spree.

But staffers at the Ulmerton Road topless bar told detectives James came in that night in March, after drinking, and demanded a Diamond VIP room. Between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m., they said, he had at least six or seven strippers entertaining him at all times. Bliss managers gave detectives eight pages of receipts, and invoices showed James' signature and a thumbprint. A Bank of America investigator told detectives James' stories didn't match up and denied his claims of fraud, the report states.

James, club staffers said, had been a regular, and they noted that James had been arrested that month on a scheming to defraud charge. James told the Times this week that fraud charge was unrelated, but said it fueled a detective's bias against him and let "preconceived notions" get in the way of the investigation.

James' attorney, David Sockol, contends that spending $50,000 in six hours remains too crazy to be true.

He pointed to the quick repetition of large separate charges, some within minutes, as suspicious. He also wondered why James would have signed off on thousands of dollars in tips for the male bartender.

"If he's in there with seven girls, then why is a bartender getting tipped all this money?" Sockol said. "It was a shoddy investigation."

Investigators: Man really did spend $50,000 in strip club 07/20/12 [Last modified: Saturday, July 21, 2012 12:13am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. FHP seeks semitrailer truck driver that left fiery wreck on I-75


    TAMPA — The Florida Highway Patrol is looking for the driver of a semitrailer truck that sped off from an Interstate 75 crash that left another car burning on Tuesday afternoon.

    Troopers were looking for the driver of a semitrailer truck that sped off from an accident scene on Interstate 75 in Tampa on Tuesday afternoon that caused a car to catch fire. [Courtesy of Florida Highway Patrol]
  2. Joe Maddon gets warm reception in return to the Trop

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The night was arranged to honor former Rays manager Joe Maddon in his first visit back to the Trop, and the warm response from the bipartisan crowd and scoreboard video tribute were proper acknowledgments of his hefty role in the Rays' success during his nine-year stint.

    Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon (70) talks with reporters during a press conference before the start of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.
  3. Three-hour police standoff ends, thanks to a cigarette


    TAMPA — A man threatening to harm himself was arrested by Tampa police on Tuesday after a three-hour standoff.

  4. Jones: Rays' Kevin Cash doesn't mind following in Joe Maddon's steps

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — On this particular night, he's the other guy. He's like a talk-show guest scooted to the end of the couch. He is Kevin Cash. And the Rays manager is standing in the home dugout at Tropicana Field.

    ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 17: Manager Kevin Cash (L) of the Tampa Bay Rays reacts to action during the game against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field on September 17, 2017 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Joseph Garnett Jr./Getty Images) 700012494
  5. 7.1 magnitude quake kills at least 139, collapses buildings in Mexico


    MEXICO CITY — A magnitude 7.1 earthquake stunned central Mexico on Tuesday, killing at least 139 people as buildings collapsed in plumes of dust. Thousands fled into the streets in panic, and many stayed to help rescue those trapped.

    A woman is lifted on a stretcher from of a building that collapsed during an earthquake in Mexico City, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. [Rebecca Blackwell | Associated Press]