Feb. 11, 2015 02:36 PM

A former officer with the Carencro Police Department has been indicted by a federal grand jury for a range of charges resulting from an inappropriate relationship with the owners of the now closed Desperado’s Gentleman’s Cabaret.

U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley’s office issued a release Wednesday announcing the indictment of Timothy “Timmy” Prejean, a 42-year-old former policeman with the Carencro PD for extorting cash payments from James and Jennifer Panos, owners of the former gentleman’s club. For years, Desperado's operated along U.S. 90 near the old Evangeline Downs Racetrack, but was shuttered in 2012 following a federal investigation into criminal activity within the club, ultimately resulting in 10 convictions and the recovery of about $1.2 million in assets through seizures and forfeitures. The club's owners, James Panos and his wife Jennifer Panos, were sentenced in November to 72- and 48-month prison sentences, respectively.
Timothy Prejean

Prejean, according to Wednesday's announcement, was indicted by a federal grand jury on one count of interference with commerce by extortion under color of official right, one count of obtaining information by computer from government or protected computer, and two counts of false statements or representations made to a department or agency of the United States.

From the release:
The indictment alleges that Prejean, in addition to his other law enforcement duties as a Carencro Police Officer, was designated to manage the issuance of exotic dancer permits for the Carencro Police Department and enforced related ordinances. According to the indictment, from January 1, 2007, until December 5, 2012, Prejean received regular cash payments and extra money for a vacation and personal expenses from Desperado’s owners James and Jennifer Panos. The indictment further alleges that Prejean ran a criminal history for James Panos on March 16, 2012, using government agency computers in excess of his authorization. The indictment also alleges that Prejean later lied to FBI and DEA agents on May 20, 2013, about the payments from James and Jennifer Panos, and Prejean also lied to FBI agents on August 16, 2013, about accessing the government database.

Desperado’s operated as an illegal enterprise for many years, and owners James and Jennifer Panos and eight other defendants were charged in a 10-count indictment on May 15, 2013, alleging racketeering conspiracy, drug conspiracy, and firearms charges for activity that took place inside the club from 2006 until December 5, 2012. All pleaded guilty and were sentenced last year as result of an investigation of drug trafficking, drug distribution, prostitution, and other illegal activity that took place at Desperado’s located on Northeast Evangeline Thruway. As part of the plea agreement, the owners agreed to forfeit illegal proceeds already seized and to forfeit the Desperado’s property.
If found guilty, Prejean would face a potential sentence of up to 35 years in prison and up to $1 million in fines; he'd also become the 11th conviction to result from the federal investigation of the defunct gentleman's club.

For more on the federal government’s takedown of Desperado’s, click here.