322: Mark Sewell – The Gold Club, Investigating America’s Most Notorious Strip Club

In this episode, retired agent Mark Sewell reviews his investigation of mafia associate Steve Kaplan and his operation of The Gold Club, the infamous Atlanta strip club that hosted many of the most recognized professional athletes and celebrities in America.

The Gold Club was the largest single money maker for the Gambino Crime Family. Kaplan, mobster “Mikey Scars” DiLeonardo, and 13 others were charged with racketeering, money laundering and prostitution counts in an indictment that included criminal activity in Miami and New York. Mark is the author of Investigating America’s Most Notorious Strip Club: The FBI, The Gold Club, and the Mafia, his personal account of what it was like to investigate the case and be prominently featured in the 2001 trial, covered daily by media outlets. His true crime tale includes the twist that brought the four-month trial to a shocking conclusion.

Special Agent (Retired)

Mark Sewell

7/1997 – 12/2017

Mark Sewell served in the FBI for 20 years. He spent his career in the Atlanta Division, initially assigned to an organized crime squad for 10 years, before transferring to the Gainesville RA where he worked on the Safe Streets Task Force for another 10 years.

He was also a member of the SWAT team.

In 2013, in the wake of the tragic school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut, Mark became one of the FBI’s first certified Active Shooter Event (ASE) Instructors. For 5 years, he taught Police Response to an ASE in 10 different states and in the country of Africa.

Since his retirement, Mark’s been working as a contract intel instructor at the FBI Academy in Quantico, VA, and operating i-68.org, a consulting firm providing Active Shooter Event Consulting for churches and workplaces.

Mark Sewell was previously a guest of FBI Retired Case File Review Episode 220: Stolen Valor, Military Imposters.

The following are links to news articles about The Gold Club investigation:

Los Angeles Times – 5/29/2001: Mobsters, Sex Add Glimmer to Gold Club Trial

CNN.com – 6/15/2001: Sex, sports and the mob: The Gold Club trial

Time Magazine – 6/15/2001: Letter from Atlanta: The Seamy Gold Club Trial

New York Times – 8/3/2001: Top Defendants in Strip-Club Trial Strike Deal

BBC News – 8/3/2001: Strip club owner faces jail

USOA EDNY Press Release – 9/30/2005: Defense Attorney Larry Bronson and Gambino Crime Family Associate Steven Kaplan Charged with Racketeering Conspiracy

ESPN Bill Simmons –  9/27/2007: Idiot’s Guide to Gold Club Trial

Learn more about FBI investigations that originate from criminal activity in strip clubs and the adult entertainment industry: 

The FBI and Strip Clubs?

021: John Ligato – Mob Guys and Strip Clubs

254: Dan DeSimone – NY Mob, Las Vegas Escort Industry

Gold Club case related images:

Prosecution Team Group Photo – Left to Right FBI SSA Kenny Powers, IRS analyst Jack Lesso, AUSA Glenn Baker, AUSA Art Leach, IRS/CID SA Lynn Whitaker, FBI SA Mark Sewell, FBI SA John Simmons
Steve Kaplan, former owner of The Gold Club.
A sweeping indictment charged eighteen people associated with The Gold Club with numerous counts of racketeering, money laundering, and prostitution.
Exterior view of the infamous Atlanta strip club.
Interior view of the infamous Atlanta strip club.
Mark Sewell’s true crime tale includes an account of the trial’s shocking conclusion. Purchase the book here.





































Jerri Williams

View posts by Jerri Williams
Jerri Williams, a retired FBI agent, author and podcaster, jokes that she writes about the FBI to relive her glory days. After 26 years with the Bureau specializing in major economic fraud and corruption investigations, she calls on her professional encounters with scams and schemers to write police procedurals inspired by true crime FBI cases in her Philadelphia FBI Corruption Squad crime fiction series featuring flawed female FBI agent Kari Wheeler. Jerri’s FBI for Armchair Detectives nonfiction series enables readers to discover who the FBI is and what the FBI does by debunking misconceptions about the FBI in books, TV, and movies. Her books are available as ebooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks wherever books are sold. She’s also the host of FBI Retired Case File Review, a true crime podcast with more than 300 episodes available on all popular podcast apps and YouTube.

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