Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Heidi Fleiss: The Million Dollar Madam

The Stud Farm

Former "Hollywood Madam" Heidi Fleiss says she's bound for a brothel in the southern Nevadadesert that she wants to help remake into a resort featuring male prostitutes serving female customers.

"I am moving to
Crystal," Fleiss said Wednesday of a desert crossroads 20 miles north of Pahrump and about 80 miles outside Las Vegas. It features two bordellos and little else.

"I am opening up a stud farm," Fleiss declared from her
Hollywoodhome overlooking the Sunset Strip. "I am going to have the sexiest men on earth. Women are going to love it."

Joe Richards, who owns the Cherry Patch Ranch and Mabel's Ranch in
Crystal, said he sent a "courtesy" letter Tuesday to inform the Nye County Commission that Fleiss will work for him.

"She's going to be madam hostess of Cherry Patch Ranch," Richards told The Associated Press by telephone. He called her an employee rather than a partner.

There's one possible problem, though.
County Sheriff Tony DeMeo said that because Fleiss is a convicted felon, she could be banned from the county's legal sex trade. DeMeo sits with the five county commissioners on a six-member brothel licensing board.

Fleiss, 39, was released from a
California prison in 1999 after serving 21 months for money laundering, tax evasion and attempted pandering.

Fleiss was convicted in 1995 of running a prostitution ring in which models-turned-prostitutes were flown around the world to meet wealthy actors and clients who paid as much as $10,000 for a single meeting.

DeMeo said he'd heard several reports in his three years as sheriff about Fleiss' plans, including a failed proposal by an Australian firm that hired Fleiss in 2003 to promote a 50-room brothel-hotel.

"This is different," Fleiss insisted Wednesday, describing movers packing her belongings and her plan to arrive in
Nevada later this week. "I'm moving."

Nye County is among ten rural Nevada counties in which prostitution is legal under county and state oversight. Prostitution is illegal in Clark County surrounding Las Vegas, and Washoe County around Reno

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