A brothel owner has been ordered to repay around £333,000 earned through the sexual exploitation of women in Dartford.

Mario Nicolae, 44, was arrested in September 2018 following complaints from within the community that a property he was renting in Downs Avenue was being visited by different men at various times of the day and night.

He initially denied receiving half of what his sex workers earned and claimed he sometimes helped the women provide massage services to clients, which he said explained why contracts found at his address referred to a 50/50 agreement.

Officers who searched the address also found paperwork proving he regularly sent thousands of pounds to a bank account in Gibraltar.

Nicolae, formerly of Windsor Road in Ealing, London, later pleaded guilty to managing a brothel, inciting prostitution and money laundering. He received a 19-month suspended prison sentence when he appeared at Maidstone Crown Court in August 2019.

On Thursday 24 March 2022 a final confiscation hearing was held at the same court to determine how much Nicolae benefited from his criminal actions and what assets he owned.

The Judge agreed that Nicolae’s management of the brothel had earned him £391,104 and that he should pay back £333,020 in assets identified in bank accounts and property he owned. Should he fail to pay within three months then he faces being sent to prison for four years.

Detective Inspector Helen Smithers of Kent Police’s Serious Economic Crime Unit said: ‘Mario Nicolae initially claimed everything he was doing was above board but we were able to prove he was inciting prostitution and benefiting financially as a result. Thanks to the Proceeds of Crime Act, we have been able to ensure he is no longer able to reap the rewards of his crimes.

‘Brothels are a blight on local communities and those who operate them often take advantage of some of the most vulnerable members of society. Any information related to brothels will always be taken seriously so we encourage anyone with concerns to report them to us.’

Report suspicious behaviour by visiting www.kent.police.uk/report or by calling 101. Alternatively call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or complete the online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org

By Ed

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