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Friday, April 23, 2021

Lafayette business owners accused of racketeering after Deal Zone raid

Credit: WLFI
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Lafayette business owners accused of racketeering after Deal Zone raid
Lafayette business owners accused of racketeering after Deal Zone raid

Fran and Menashi Cohen are defendants in a civil suit filed by the Tippecanoe County Prosecutor's Office alleging a pattern of racketeering, including money laundering, theft, forgery and perjury.

Know about two business owners accused of racketeering.

News 18's joe paul spoke to a local landlord and a nearby employee.

He joins us live to share how those conversations reveal more about the businesses and their owners.

Joe?

When deal zone was raided by police march fifth, we didn't know what was taken or what specifically was being investigated.

But now court documents are revealing many more details.

And an interview today shines a light on what the businesses and their owners were like.

< "lpd pulled up and penske trucks, the entire parking lot out here was filled with cops, there was a guy in a suit standing at the door."

Court documents are revealing new details about a city-wide raid last month.

On march 5, police seized electronics and other merchandise from deal zone and treasure on pallets.

They also seized more than one-hundred thousand dollars, firearms, jewelry and other items from the business owners, fran and menashi cohen.

Leah mantle, an employee of the dollar general near treasure on pallets, saw the raid happen.

"they were out here in full uniform, they were out here in cop cars, penske trucks, undercover-looking cars, and there was a lot of them."

Interviews with news 18 suggest the cohens' cluttered businesses dealt in used and overstock items. local landlord ron hurst leased a space to menashi cohen to use for another business, cd land, which closed last year.

"it was cluttered.

He had a little bit of this, a little bit of that ... never saw more than one shopper in there at a time, basically, and it seemed like it was operated more on the basis of a pawn shop than a retail store."

Hurst says menashi cohen only paid about half of his rent at the location.

Hurst says his real estate agent warned him about the man's reputation of avoiding rent payments.

"he had basically said you're probably going to have to stay after to keep payments and that turned out to be pretty accurate."

Hurst adds he isn't shocked by the recent allegations.

"you now what's going in the door and what's going out the door.

How are you paying for everything?

With what i was seeing, the volume of merchandise leaving and the kind of merchandise he had in there."

The cohens are defendants in a civil suit filed by the prosecutor's office and aren't under criminal investigation.

The suit alleges a pattern of money laundering, theft, forgery and perjury.

I visited menashi cohen's home today but he declined to comment.

I also visited fran cohen's home but no one answered the door.

Reporting live in lafayette, joe paul, news 18.

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