Federal prosecutors charged Tuesday that the Pagan Outlaw Motorcycle Club extorted thousands of dollars annually from topless clubs and other adult businesses throughout Long Island and planned to murder one club manager who refused to pay.
Zachary Carter, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, announced that 33 members and associates of the club had been arrested. Carter said the Pagans, while under the guise of a recreational motorcycle club, "used threats of violence and arson" to force club owners and their dancers to pay generally $400 a week in protection money to gang leaders.But one man, Sean McCarthy, who worked as a manager and bouncer at the Carousel Club, on East Jericho Turnpike in Huntington Station, refused to pay. More than once, he beat up several Pagans sent to collect the money, police reports said. One time he was stabbed five times while fighting off seven gang members, according to police and informant reports.
The head of the Pagans, Keith Richter, 38, of Bay Shore, ordered McCarthy killed last year, prosecutors said. Before the plot could be carried out, Richter was arrested. He pleaded guilty March 21 to murder conspiracy and racketeering and was sentenced to 16 years in federal prison.
Thirteen others were charged Tuesday with conspiracy to murder McCarthy. In addition to the conspiracy and racketeering charges, other charges have been levied against gang members, including assaults against Hell's Angels and other rival gangs and violating firearms laws.
Nightclub and video store owners named by federal authorities as victims of the Pagans would not comment on the case. Many of the clubs appear to have shut down or are operating under new owners or new names.
The use of violence for extortion and interfering with interstate commerce made the gang's activities into a federal case, Carter said. If convicted of the most serious charges, the defendants each face up to 10 years in prison.