DENVER (CBS4) – A federal judge has sentenced Brenda Stewart, the former owner of a high-end prostitution business, to 12 months of home detention, another 12 months of supervised release, and ordered Stewart to repay the IRS $61,489 plus a $100 “special assessment” after Stewart pleaded guilty to one count of federal tax evasion.
Following the Monday sentencing, a reporter asked Stewart her thoughts on the sentence. “How would you feel?” responded Stewart, who was on her way out of the downtown Denver federal courthouse.
Stewart bought the prostitution service “Denver Players/Denver Sugar” in 2005 for $150,000 in cash. It catered to Denver’s upper crust — lawyers, judges, professional athletes and wealthy businessmen. Escort services could be purchased hourly for $300 cash, $350 an hour if a credit card was used.
In 2008 federal authorities raided the brothel and Stewart’s home. She was hit with 70 federal counts, including money laundering, obstruction of justice and witness tampering. But Stewart agreed to plead guilty to a single count of tax evasion and the other 69 counts were dropped.
Her attorney, Joseph Saint Veltri, argued in court that Stewart should get probation. Federal prosecutor Matthew Kirsch pressed Judge Marcia Krieger to send Stewart to prison for six months and another six months of home detention.
For much of the hearing Stewart, dressed in black, clasped her hands and closed her eyes. She made a brief statement thanking the court and the probation office.
“That’s about it,” Stewart said as she stood before the judge.
In pronouncing sentence Judge Krieger said, “It’s important not to hide the truth.”
Kirsch objected to the lack of prison time saying the sentence was “procedurally unreasonable.” But Krieger termed it an “appropriate sentence.”
Stewart will have to begin home detention and electronic monitoring within 21 days.