Aug. 12--When the judge asked him what he did for a living, the middle-aged accountant appeared confused and replied, "I just oversee as a booking agent."
But Douglas Juiffre was no mere booking agent, prosecutors allege: He owned a thriving escort business that took in $200,000 a month and employed a fleet of drivers who shuttled up to 15 prostitutes a night to clients in Broward and Palm Beach counties.
"It was quite an elaborate scheme," said Broward Assistant State Attorney Kristin MacKenzie. "They utilized office space as a call center, employed people to answer the phone calls to arrange sexual activities with the prostitutes. An all-cash business."
Juiffre, 58, of Pompano Beach, is being held in the Broward County jail on $225,000 bond. He was arrested Thursday and charged with five felonies, including living off the proceeds of prostitution, money laundering and racketeering.
A co-defendant, Joshua Rubenstein, 34, of Boca Raton, described by prosecutors as Juiffre's "No. 2 person," was arrested on similar charges. He is jailed in lieu of $180,000 bond.
Juiffre and Rubenstein were arrested after a joint operation between Fort Lauderdale Police and the Broward Sheriff's Office that began earlier this year with a tip from a confidential informant, according to a police affidavit. Police used that informant to introduce to Juiffre an undercover Fort Lauderdale detective posing as someone looking for a job as a driver.
To land a job with AAAA Associates, Juiffre's company, the undercover cop passed two personal interviews with the boss, showed he could be trusted with large sums of cash and studied a company handout called "What makes a good driver."
Among the suggestions: If the driver "pushed the girls to go from date to date as fast as possible, it would benefit everyone and [the driver] could easily expect to make $300 per night," according to the affidavit.
While wearing a recording device, the police officer heard Juiffre explain that a client was typically charged $180 for a one-hour date with a prostitute. Of that sum, the prostitute kept $70, the driver got $30 and the $80 balance went to the office, according to the affidavit.
"If it's a two-girl, or two-hour special, the price is $340, $20 off," police wrote in the affidavit.
Juiffre advertised his business under the "adult entertainment" and "escort" sections of the Internet site Backpage.com, as well as on Craigslist and in Broward New Times, detectives said.
He paid for that advertising, telephones, office space and other business expenses from accounts that he controlled, investigators said.
MacKenzie, the prosecutor, told the court that neither Juiffre nor Rubenstein "have a legitimate source of revenue." The prosecutor said Juiffre "has businesses set up, but he never filed anything with the Department of Revenue."
Under questioning by Broward County Judge Ellen Feld, Juiffre said he had lived in South Florida for 13 years, had never been convicted of a crime and owned his Pompano Beach condominium on Palm-Aire Drive North.
He said his only relatives lived in Maryland.
In asking the judge to reduce his bond, Juiffre said, "I understand society's concern and what have you. I'll wear an ankle bracelet."
The judge said no.
Three others associated with Juiffre's escort agency, including a driver and two escorts, were arrested by Broward Sheriff's deputies June 20, according to the affidavit.
During Rubenstein's appearance Friday before a judge, the defendant's father said of his son's arrest, "I'm just absolutely shocked. I don't know what to say." He added that his son was "a good boy, a good person."
In the country club community of Palm-Aire, Juiffre's neighbors said they, too, were surprised.
"I have nothing negative to say about him," said Maribel Soto, who remembers when Juiffre moved into his second-story three-bedroom condo about 10 years ago. "I guess you never know who your neighbors are."
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