While Roselyn Keo is enjoying her time in the limelight from Hustlers, Karina Pascucci and Marsi Rosen are trying to avoid it, and Samantha Barbash is trying to discredit the film.
The four women were charged for luring men into strip clubs, drugging them and maxing out their credit cards. The movie is based on the scam, which Keo detailed to Jessica Pressler in an article for New York Magazine, The Hustlers at Scores.
Keo, whose character is named Destiny in the movie, was invited to a special screening of Hustlers in New York City where she met the Hustlers cast, including Constance Wu, who played Destiny, and Jennifer Lopez, who played Ramona Vega, the character based on Barbash’ character.
The film is largely based on the true story Keo told Pressler, although some things were changed for drama, or to generate more sympathy for the main characters. You can read more about that here.
Barbash is considering a lawsuit against the film producers and J.Lo, saying they used her story without permission. She’s also writing a book so she can tell her story in her own way. Read more about Barbash and what she’s doing now here.
All four of the women faced serious charges, but avoided serious jail time.
Here’s what you need to know:
Keo Was On Her Own At 16 & Had a Baby & a ‘Get Money’ List When She Met Barbash
Keo, who goes by Rosie, was raised by elderly grandparents along with her brother after her parents abandoned them and moved to Atlantic City. They were Cambodian refugees who got caught up in material things when they pursued a better life in America, she told Pressler.
Her grandmother died when she was 16, leaving her on her own, she said in a followup article for New York Magazine. She dropped out of high school when she was 17 and got a job at a diner, where a customer offered her a job at a strip club.
She had already learned to hustle when she met Barbash, who was running a scheme with other girls at Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club. Keo had a baby girl and a list of clients, which she called a “Get Money” list.
After the scam was uncovered, she decided to confess and take a plea deal in November 2014.
“I thought about it, and I’m, like, the only one of those girls that’s normal, with a brain on my head, with a child and a future,” she told Pressler.
She pleaded guilty to to grand larceny and attempted assault in March 2016, when she was 33. In exchange, she was given five years probation.
“She’s ready to start rebuilding her life for her and her daughter,” her defense attorney Samuel Gregory, told the New York Post.
Keo also wrote a book, The Sophisticated Hustler, which is available for pre-order.
She dedicated the book to her daughter in an Instagram post.
“This book is dedicated to the person that helped me become a better mother, a better person back then and today… Everything I do is for you. Thank you for saving my life,” she wrote.
Marsi Rosen is Staying Out of the Public Eye After Serving Jail Time
Marsi Rosen has been living a private life out of the public eye since she was released from weekend jail stints, according to Oprah Magazine. While Barbash and Keo avoided time in jail, Rosen and Pascucci were hit harder.
Rosen was one of the strippers Barbash recruited to join the crew, serving as a pretty face to lure men. Mercedes, played by Keke Palmer, was based on Rosen’s character. Rosen pleaded guilty to grand larceny and conspiracy. She was sentenced to weekends in jail for four months, followed by five years probation.
Rosen lived near Barbash in Bayside when she was recruited. Pressler wrote she was “an easy recruit.”
“Her boyfriend, a convicted drug dealer everyone called the Pimp, was apparently all too happy to have her provide another revenue stream,” she wrote.
Barbash would contact one of the people on a list Keo would manage. Then Rosen and Pascucci would meet up with him and eventually lure him into one of the clubs, where the women had arranged for a cut of the client’s spending. Then they would wrack up the costliest tab they could manage.
Pascucci Said She Was Naive & Stupid But Doesn’t Think She Committed a Crime
Pascucci flip-flopped her story in interviews with Crime Watch Daily, first saying she took responsibility for her actions, and then saying she did not think she committed a crime.
“I’ve learned to think before you speak,” she said.
Later, she said she was “naive,” “stupid,” and “dumb” but didn’t commit a crime.
“It’s a very gray situation,” she said.
Some men would enjoy themselves and come back. Others, she said, had “buyers remorse.”
Pascucci’s role was to go “fishing” with Rosen, by finding marks and luring them to the strip club where they would run up a huge tab. Then, the women would collect a cut of the bill.
Pascucci pleaded guilty to grand larceny and conspiracy in January 2016. She was sentenced to four months of weekends in a Rikers cell and five years’ probation.
Pascucci inspired the character, Annabelle, played by Lili Reinhart.