Call it a "client relations" deduction

Prostitutes busted in high-profile cases usually complain that prosecutors have much less interest in going after the johns than the hookers, but Kristin Davis may have a better complaint than most.  Davis, who had the misfortune of having Eliot Spitzer as a client, wanted prosecutors to take a look at high-level corporate executives who used their company credit cards to pay for services rendered, including some top people from bailed-out Wall Street firms.  Despite the possibility of wire and tax fraud, prosecutors took a pass:

Wall street lawyers, investment bankers, CEOs and media executives often used corporate credit cards to pay for $2,000 an hour prostitutes, according to the madam who ran one of New York’s biggest and most expensive escort services until it was busted last year.

But prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office chose not to pursue any of the corporate titans, says Kristin Davis, who pleaded guilty last year to charges of running a prostitution business that used more than a hundred women. …

“They showed no interest,” said Davis in an interview for broadcast Friday on the ABC News program 20/20.

“Some of these guys, I was invoicing on corporate credit cards,” she said. “I was writing up monthly bills for computer consulting, construction expenses, all of these things, I was invoicing them monthly so they could get it by their accountants,” Davis said.

Davis brought the records to ABC, since she couldn’t get the district attorney interested in them.  ABC confirmed the names of the executives, but couldn’t get the DA’s office to confirm or deny Davis’ story.  ABC tried contacting the men on the list, and some of them denied using corporate cards — but Davis’ records strongly suggest otherwise.

Who were the clients?  I’ll mention a few, but be sure to read the linked story for some of the hilarious notes associated with each:

  • Merrill Lynch: managing director
  • Deutsche Bank: managing director
  • Goldman Sachs: investment banker
  • JP Morgan: investment banker
  • Lehman Brothers: investment banker

And the one that ABC loved so much, they listed it first:

  • NBC Universal: vice president

Apparently, he really put the vice in “vice president”.

Had these people used corporate credit cards and had Davis bill them as she claims, they would have had these costs written off by their employers and deducted from the company’s taxes.  That’s tax fraud, and had any of this deception used the mail or wire — such as electronic billing — it could become wire or mail fraud as well, all of which would be federal crimes.

So why didn’t the DA pursue it?  Prosecutors have a double standard regarding prostitution, especially high-end rings like Davis ran.  Police have no trouble busting johns from streetwalkers in sting operations, but they almost always avoid people like Eliot Spitzer, whom Davis claims got kicked out as a customer after demanding unprotected sex with her staff, and other clients of high-priced rings.

That doesn’t make it right, though.  They should prosecute the big fish as well as the small, perhaps more than the small in this case.  Tax fraud is tax fraud.  Who do these men think they are — Obama Cabinet appointees?