A geriatric pimp using 21st-century technology?
Mesa police have arrested a 75-year-old man who they say was using his condo as a house of ill repute, socking the money away in a lock box in the kitchen and acting as a virtual pimp with the latest gadgets.
State prosecutors have charged Floyd Eugene Warter with seven counts, accusing him in Maricopa Superior Court of running a house of prostitution, money laundering, running a criminal enterprise, conspiracy, and more.
Mesa police arrested him last week after investigating his establishment for nearly two years. He was booked into county jail last week. It was unclear by deadline if he entered a plea or remains in custody.
There is no record Warter has any prior arrests, convictions, or prison terms in Arizona, according to court records and online court and prison search engines.
Tempe’s Human Exploitation and Trafficking Squad began investigating Warter's condo on the 1500 block of West Rio Salado Parkway in June 2016, after they nabbed a john in an unrelated case. The man told them he sometimes bought sex at the Mesa flat, according to a police narrative filed in court.
The report says detectives found an ad on Backpage a few months later in the body rub section, featuring a “scantily clad female wearing a small bikini bottom and a small tank-top.” Police answered the ad and arranged a hookup for cash.
When police arrived at the scene, they found an empty unit with little furniture other than massage tables in each of the two bedrooms. Police detained a woman who met them, and she later told them she was supposed to put $100 in the kitchen lock box every time she had customers, according to the booking sheet filed in court.
The woman went on to tell police, they said, that Warter routinely picked up the cash, paid for her Uber ride to the brothel from her pad, and had at least a couple of other women working for him.
Tempe’s sex crimes detectives got a search warrant for Warter’s Uber account. It yielded 50 trips to and from the Rio Salado condo, and when they checked Backpage ads for the three women they knew about, they found 146 pages of adult ads for escorts, body rubs, and the like, police said.
The “scantily dressed and nude women, posing in seductive positions” listed their location as the general vicinity of the Rio Salado place, police said.
So police put it under surveillance. Likely surprising none of them, they watched men come and go every 30 or 60 minutes, followed by women a couple of minutes later, they said in court records. On one occasion, they watched two women leave the apartment and dump a bag of trash. It had used condoms in it, police said. They checked. Such a glamorous job.
Police picked up Warter on April 12, and, according to police accounts in his booking sheet, he began to sing. Not in the literal sense.
He told them he’d used the place for prostitution seven or eight times, and women would leave either $60 or $100 a day for him, depending on how many customers they served. He admitted posting ads for the women from his iPad and iPhone.
MBA types call it vertical integration, and it was a 21st-century enterprise at its best. Warter, who the girls called Gene, had the location, had the transportation, ran the ads, had the technology, and picked up the cash, all without lifting a finger, if the case holds true.