CRIME

Francis Sharrak, Michigan Man, Used Computer In Wayne County Jail To Run Porn And Strip Club Business

11/21/2012 01:13 pm ET

Talk about a creative home office. A man who lingered in a Wayne County solo jail cell for 18 months before sentencing used the downtime to manage his multi-million dollar Internet porn and strip club enterprises using a computer equipped with Internet access, according to the Detroit Free Press.

44-year-old Francis Sharrak of Farmington Hills was was held at the Wayne County Jail until his April 2012 sentencing for tax evasion, which was delayed for health problems and other requests. Representing himself, the computer was theoretically supplied to the inmate to help him prepare his defense.

"In retrospect, we know that he should not have had it," Wayne County Undersheriff Daniel Pfannes told MLive.

According to the Free Press, transcripts of Sharrak's calls showed him boasting about being the first person at the jail to ever have a computer, which he used to discuss money and management decisions at the strip clubs he worked with.

Sharrak also called a 14-year-old girl and talked about drugs and sexual experiences, court filings stated, though no illegal activity was found on the computer or in the taped calls.

Wayne County jail officials puts the onus for the computer snafu on one individual's breach of policy.

Pfannes told WDIV the incident occurred because an employee had helped Sharrak obtain use of the computer by saying a court orderallowed him to have one, though the court order was found to be made up.

But WXYZ interviewed Renee Newell, former compliance manager at the jail, who was fired earlier in the year and filed a whistleblower lawsuit in August. Newell said she didn't have the authority to make decisions about inmates.

Sharrak reportedly earned $3.7 million from his adult websites and consulting for strip clubs, including Platinum Show Girls and Spanky's Club in Ohio, between 1997 and 2001. He did not file tax returns between 2003 and 2005, during which time he brought in $1.4 million. He concealed assets, made false statements to the IRS and purchased or leased a Mercedes, motor home and Corvette in other people's names, according to the prosecution.

In April, Sharrak was sentenced to 72 months in prison, which he is serving at a federal facility in West Virginia, followed by three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $4.2 million to the IRS. http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2012/11/20/authorities-jailed-man-ran-internet-porn-business-behind-bars/

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