Ohio bar loses alcohol licence after accepting food stamps for lap-dances

Harry Cockburn
Sharkey's Lounge, where police were able to purchase methamphetamine with food stamps: Google

A strip bar in Ohio has lost its liquor licence after officials discovered that food stamps were allegedly being used to pay for drugs and lap-dances on the premises.

Sharkey’s lounge, in the city of Dayton, was the subject of a five-month long investigation, in which agents from the Ohio Investigative Unit were said to have been able to exchange over $2,000 (£1,500) worth of food stamps to buy heroin, fentanyl, carfentanil, cocaine, methamphetamine and lap dances.

Michelle Thourot who led the investigation said agents began looking into practices at Twenty Two Fifty Inc, also known as Sharkey’s, in May 2017.

The force was able to file charges against employees and customers for crimes including “drug trafficking, food stamp trafficking, aggravated shipment and distribution of heroin, engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, and illegal sexual activity”.

A further 44 administrative charges were heard by the Liquor Control Commission and included drug possession, drug sales, engaging in sexual activity, food stamp trafficking and solicitation, the Dayton Daily News reports.

The owners of Sharkey's could not be reached for comment.

It is the second time the Ohio Investigative Unit has revoked a liquor permit from a strip bar in Dayton - The Harem was the subject of an investigation and had its license revoked in May this year.

In 2016 44.2 million US citizens - about 14 per cent of the population - received food stamps through the country’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

The federal aid programme provides an average of $125 (£95) for each person per month in food assistance for those with low or no income.