"We're a family now," Ramona (Jennifer Lopez) gleefully declares in the trailer for the new film "Hustlers." "A family with money!"
It's a heartwarming sentiment — except the newfound money came about because Ramona and her fellow strippers started drugging their rich finance bro clients, all so they could gain access to their credit cards and scam them out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, expertly distracting them with alcohol and ass. And the craziest part? It's not some kind of twisted Robin Hood fantasy: "Hustlers" is based on a true story.
As documented in Jessica Pressler's 2015 article "The Hustlers at Scores," Roslyn Keo and Samantha Barbash, two workers at the New York City strip club Scores, were the masterminds behind the scam, believing they could get away with robbing and drugging their clients because they'd all be too embarrassed and confused to report it. And they were right — to a point. Ultimately, the group would meet their downfall and eventually be caught for their get-rich scheme... but not before getting their hands on multiple luxury vehicles, bags of designer clothing, and untold amounts of cash.
Here's what happened to the women of "Hustlers" after their arrest:
1. Roslyn Keo
One of the group's ringleaders, Keo is played by Constance Wu in the film and is the main protagonist. Keo, in both the article and the film, insists she got involved in the scam because the Wall Street crash had affected her ability to make money: She had big dreams and a daughter and was tired of servicing rich guys who she claimed were rude and terrible.
“What’s an extra $20,000 to them?" as she told Pressler.
In March 2016, Keo was sentenced to five years of probation, evading jail time. She took a deal and pleaded guilty to grand larceny and attempted assault, The New York Post reported at the time.
“She’s ready to start rebuilding her life for her and her daughter,” her defense lawyer Samuel Gregor said, according to the outlet.
These days Keo is back with her daughter's father, lives in New Jersey, and says her latest hustle "is the PTA. I fund-raise. I do a lot of fund-raisers for my school. There isn’t a lot of drama, thank God. There is a little mean-girl thing, but at the end of the day, we all just care about our children. At the end of the day, when you have working moms, we don’t have time for the b.s. We’re just all about school, work, and children," she told Vulture.
Keo wrote her own book about her experience called, "The Sophisticated Hustler;" she also attended the film's premiere and posts about it on her Instagram, happily endorsing it.
She told Vulture she no longer speaks to Barbash.
2. Samantha Barbash
Less happy about the film is Samantha Barbash, the other mastermind behind the scam, who says she is now planning on suing Jennifer Lopez, who plays her in the film.
“We’re putting a stop to it because she’s actually misrepresenting me,” Barbash, who is now 45, told the New York Post in April 2019. “I was never a stripper. “It’s defamation of character.”
Barbash maintains she was merely a hostess and was not "going on poles and stuff."
She also claims Lopez never reached out to her, which deeply upset her: “It’s my story she’s making money off of. If she wants to play me, then she should have gotten the real story.”
Her lawyer, Bruno Gioffre, told Page Six, “The movie is based on court records from the trial and a New York magazine interview of one of the co-defendants in the case against dancers at Scores. Although Samantha wasn’t a dancer at that time, we believe the movie and Jennifer Lopez’s character is based on her. We plan on seeing the movie before deciding on what steps to take.”
Like Keo, Barbash also avoided any jail time for her role: She pled guilty in April 2017 to conspiracy, assault, and grand larceny in exchange for five years probation.
These days, Barbash runs a spa and is writing her own book about the scandal, called "Underscore," insisting she has moved on.
“It was a hard three years of my life. [But] I’m not ashamed,” she told the New York Post in April 2019.
3. Karina Pascucci
Pascucci may not have been the brains behind the operation but she, along with Marsi Rosen, faced the toughest legal consequences: In January 2016, Pascucci was sentenced to 16 weekends in jail after pleading guilty to grand larceny and conspiracy, the New York Daily News reports.
Pascucci's role in the scheme was to act as adorable bait to lure in the wealthy clientele, so the women could drug and steal from them. She claims on her alleged Instagram page that Lili Reinhart's character Annabelle is based on her.
At the time of her sentencing she had started working in retail, Pressler reported.
Pascucci told New York Post reporters after her first weekend in jail, “How do you think jail went?”
“I have too much on my mind right now, I’d prefer not to speak about it," she continued.
However, Pascucci doesn't seem to harbor the same ill will toward the movie Barbash does: She happily attended the "Hustlers" premiere along with Keo and posed for photos.
4. Marsi Rosen
Rosen's role in the scam was similar to Pascucci's: Be the pretty, flirty woman who convinced the marks to come and have drinks. And like Pacucci, she was sentenced to 16 weeks in jail in January 2016 for grand larceny and assault.
The character played by Keke Palmer is likely based on Rosen.
However, unlike the other three women sentenced for their role in the scam, Rosen has kept a very low profile since, eschewing media attention, seemingly in favor of a quieter life.
It seems unlikely there will be a forthcoming book or red carpet appearance from this member of the criminal quartet.
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