Crime

Valet Service CEO Gets 17 Months For Defrauding Strip Club Titan Alan Markovitz

February 13, 2024, 1:15 PM by  Allan Lengel

The owner of a valet service was sentenced Monday to 1 year and five months in federal prison for swindling strip club titan Alan Markovitz out of about $1 million. 

Hussein “Sam” Bazzi, 38, owner of A-Star Valet of Michigan, enticed Markovitz in 2018 into investing in his company by falsely claiming he had lucrative contracts with businesses including the Renaissance Center Detroit, Somerset Collection, the Motor City Casino and Hotel, Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio, Henry Ford Hospital, MGM Grand Detroit and other entities, according to the indictment.  He even created fake contracts and fictious bank and cash flow statements.

He also boasted of having clients including Hollywood director Spike Lee, actor Wesley Snipes, the late U.S. Rep. John Dingell and Kayrouz, a prominent Metro Detroit lawyer, according to Robert Snell of The Detroit News, who first reported the story.  

"He was a professional con man and he's good at his craft," Markovitz told Deadline Detroit on Tuesday.

This latest chapter is but one of many colorful ones for Markovitz, who has had great success buying and selling strip clubs over the decades. The Oak Park native was shot twice at his Metro Detroit clubs, and in 1991 was the target of a murder contract put out by a business partner. In 2014, he starred in a reality show about his strip clubs on Cinemax called "Topless Prophet." He also authored a book,"Topless Prophet: The True Story of America’s Most Successful Gentleman’s Club Entrepreneur."  

Markovitz no longer operates strip clubs in Detroit, but owns clubs elsewhere.   

In the Bazzi case, a sentencing memorandum filed by Bazzi's attorney Nabih H. Ayad, describes his client as a small businessman unable to get funding through traditional credit, so he relies on individuals and companies to lend him money, which he promises to pay back.

That memo describes Markovitz as a topless club owner who "is a sophisticated businessman that looks for investment opportunities." 

The memo argues that Bazzi repaid the money in cash to Markovitz and that should be taken into consideration in sentencing, "insisting any financial loss was temporary." 

The government in its sentencing memorandum said Bazzi's claim of repaying all the money appears "improbable," and alleges that Bazzi only repaid $82,100 of the $1,179,000 Markovitz invested.

Bazzi lawyer alleges that Markovitz lied to federal authorities about Bazzi and his repayments after learning he'd been lied to about the valet business. 

"This made the sophisticated and intelligent businessman furious that a young person can sway him in the way he did. (Markovitz's) ego was hurt, he had been outhustled, regardless of the fact that he had still received his money from Bazzi, the fact that he had been convinced these accounts existed and the person he was speaking to via email was simply a lie, it outraged him."

Markovitz, who attended the sentencing in Detroit on Monday, told Deadline Detroit Tuesday that he was swindled out of the money and cooperated with the feds to make sure Bazzi went to prison. 

"I wanted to be there at the sentencing, I wanted him to know," Markovitz said. "I wanted to represent all the victims before me who were either afraid or embarrassed by this con man."

"I not only want him to go to jail, but I'm preventing him from doing this to future victims who cannot take the financial hit."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Reynolds asked for 10 more months in prison than the 17 months Bazzi received.

In her sentencing memorandum she stated; "The bank account activity was not complicated and showed a fairly straight forward scheme to obtain money by fraud and to use it for personal expenses."

"There is no evidence that Bazzi was financially distressed at any point in the 17-months he took money. His actions were driven by greed."

 



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