State Trooper Among Four Arrested On Gambling, Prostitution, Other Charges

Pennsylvania State Police

HARRISBURG, PA — The Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) announced the arrest of Trooper Robert E. Covington Jr., of Olyphant, PA, for his alleged involvement in illegal activity occurring at Sinners Swing Gentlemen’s Club in Mayfield Borough, Lackawanna County. Covington, 48, is a 13-year veteran of PSP and was assigned to the Bureau of Gaming Enforcement, Pocono Downs Wilkes-Barre Office. He had been on restricted duty during the investigation and is currently suspended without pay pending resolution of the charges against him.

Also charged were: David P. Klem, 39, of Eynon, PA; Michael P. Ball, 49, of Dalton, PA; and Deanna E. Tallo, 32, of Troop, PA. 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.”

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Authorities state that 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.

Investigators developed and presented evidence to the statewide investigating grand jury alleging Covington, Klem, and others were operating a corrupt organization involving prostitution, gambling, and money laundering. The grand jury recommended the following charges:

Robert Covington Jr., Club Co-owner:

  1. Corrupt Organizations, 18 Pa.C.S. § 911(b)(3),(4)
  2. Criminal Conspiracy, 18 Pa.C.S. § 903(a)(1)
  3. Prostitution and Related Offenses, 18 Pa.C.S. § 5902 (b)(1)
  4. Gambling Devices, Gambling Etc., 18 Pa.C.S. § 5513 (a)(2),(4)
  5. Dealing in Proceeds of Unlawful Activities, 18 Pa.C.S. § 5111(a)(1)
  6. Criminal Use of a Communication Facility, 18 Pa.C.S. § 7512 (a)
  7. Unsworn Falsification to Authorities, 18 Pa.C.S. § 4904 (a) (1)
  8. Financial Interest Statement Violation, 65 Pa.C.S. § 1105 (a)
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David Klem, Club Co-owner:

  1. Corrupt Organizations, 18 Pa.C.S. § 911(b)(3),(4)
  2. Criminal Conspiracy, 18 Pa.C.S. § 903(a)(1)
  3. Prostitution and Related Offenses, 18 Pa.C.S. § 5902(b)(1)
  4. Gambling Devices, Gambling Etc., 18 Pa.C.S. § 5513 (a)(2),(4)
  5. Dealing in Proceeds of Unlawful Activities, 18 Pa.C.S. § 5111(a)(1)
  6. Criminal Use of a Communication Facility 18 Pa.C.S. § 7512 (a)
Michael Ball, Club Manager:

  1. Corrupt Organizations, 18 Pa.C.S. § 911(b)(3),(4)
  2. Criminal Conspiracy, 18 Pa.C.S. § 903(a)(1)
  3. Prostitution and Related Offenses, 18 Pa.C.S. § 5902(b)(1)
  4. Gambling Devices, Gambling Etc., 18 Pa.C.S. § 5513 (a)(2)
Deanna Tallo, Club Employee:

  1. Corrupt Organizations, 18 Pa.C.S. § 911(b)(3),(4)
  2. Criminal Conspiracy, 18 Pa.C.S. § 903(a)(1)
  3. Prostitution and Related Offenses, 18 Pa.C.S. § 5902(b)(1)
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. At the recommendation of the 44th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury, we are charging four individuals for running an illegal gambling and prostitution ring,” said Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “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.”

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

Authorities state this investigation remains ongoing. Anyone with information should contact the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Philadelphia Office, at 215-452-5239.

Information is subject to change at any time. All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law beyond a reasonable doubt.

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