A federal jury convicted two former Drug Enforcement Agency agents yesterday of lying on security clearance forms to hide their ownership of a strip club in New Jersey. Glen Glover and David Polos covered up their roles in managing Twins Plus Go-Go Lounge in South Hackensack, which likely would have been disqualifying had the federal drug war agency known about it, because of rules meant to keep agents from risk of blackmail and association with criminals.
"Their actions were not just a betrayal of their oaths as DEA employees, but as the jury found, a violation of federal law," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement.
Polos, 51, a resident of West Nyack, New York, and Glover, 45, of Lyndhurst, New Jersey, were each convicted of a count of conspiracy to make false statements and a count of making false statements. The charges carry as much as 10 years in prison. Polos was convicted of an additional count of lying by saying he had no "close or continuing contact" with a foreign national, despite a relationship he had with a Brazilian stripper who was in the U.S. illegally. That could carry an additional 5 years imprisonment.
Polos is a 24-year veteran of the agency and retired the month before his May 2015 arrest, as supervisor of an organized crime task force working in New York. Glover had been working for the DEA as an ID specialist since 1998, and at one point worked directly under Polos there. He has been suspended since his arrest and will likely be fired now that he has been convicted. The two filled out security clearance forms in 2011 and didn't mention their connection to Twins.
During the two-week trial, lawyers for the men argued that they were investors in the strip club, not hands-on managers.
According to the New York Times, Cathy Fleming, a lawyer for Glover, held up a snapshot showing Mr. Glover smiling in the company of five dancers and asked, "Does that look like an employee, or does that look like an owner?"
Unfortunately for the defendants, the feds had copious text messages and emails showing that Glover and Polos were deeply involved in the day-to-day operation of the club, overseeing its renovation, and watching surveillance feeds from the business remotely while on the government clock.
As federal prosecutors are sometimes fond of doing, U.S. attorneys cast an extra layer of seediness over the case—by alluding to illegal drug use and prostitution in the club, and to the club knowingly hiring undocumented immigrants to work as dancers—without criminally charging those offenses.
Polos and Glover are free on bail awaiting sentencing. Both have are planning to challenge the conviction.
"Dave’s a hero DEA agent. We respect the jury’s verdict but we don’t think he committed any crime," Polos's lawyer Marc Mukasey told reporters.
"I’m pretty shocked by the verdict," said Fleming, Glover's lawyer. "Disappointed in the verdict, but fortunately, judges get to take a second look."
Twins is still open—in April it advertised $4 Fireball shot specials and music by a DJ Javi—but it's not clear if Polos and Glover still have stakes. A man who answered the phone this afternoon declined to comment.