Feds sentence ex-nightclub owner in West Palm money laundering scheme
US Attorney’s office to seize portfolio of homes, condos and commercial properties in Palm Beach County
The federal government sentenced a nightclub owner in West Palm Beach to nearly six years in prison for operating an illegal sports gambling and prostitution business, committing tax evasion and money laundering.
The government is seeking to collect $10 million through the seizure and sale of residential and commercial properties in West Palm Beach and Riviera Beach, as well as the sale of other items, including a Rolex watch and six vehicles, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida. A forfeiture hearing will be set at a later date.
Dion De Cesare owned Renegades, a restaurant and nightclub in West Palm Beach. Two years ago, he was charged with running an illegal sports gambling business, conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering between 2015 and 2020. He also allegedly failed to pay personal and payroll taxes between 2011 and 2013, and 2015 and 2016, tied to his ownership of Renegades.
The State Attorney’s office alleged that he used a Costa Rica-based server to run the sports betting venture.
De Cesare also generated illicit income from prostitution, collecting rental income from Whispers All Girls Staff and NXT, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The government plans to seize the properties that housed those businesses at 180 North Military Trail and 177 Manchester Lane in West Palm Beach.
He worked with his co-defendants Mark Paolantonio, Kelly Liza, Aundre Aarons and Josh Peasley to execute the schemes, according to the complaint.
De Cesare admitted to providing prostitution services during the 14 years he operated Whispers All Girls Staff and NXT, and laundering those proceeds through third-party bank accounts, as well as using the funds to pay expenses and mortgage payments for additional real estate.
The other properties include five condos at 1850, 1900, 1950 and 2050 North Congress Avenue in West Palm Beach, which are part of the Presidential Golfview condominium complex. Also expected to be seized and sold: De Cesare’s waterfront five-bedroom home at 3235 Embassy Drive in West Palm Beach, and his lakefront four-bedroom house at 1043 Big Torch Street in Riviera Beach. He began acquiring the properties in the early 2000s.
An August court filing states that De Cesare agreed to forfeit substitute property — likely because De Cesare already sold assets the government could not seize. That substitute property includes a condo at 1118 25th Street in West Palm Beach, a Costa Rican bank account with $10,000, a condo at Croc’s Resort and Casino in Jaco, Costa Rica and land in Escazu, Costa Rica.
De Cesare was also ordered to pay more than $1 million in restitution.