By Terrence McCoy
By Scott Fishman
By Deirdra Funcheon
By Allie Conti
By New Times Staff
By Ryan Pfeffer
By Deirdra Funcheon
By Kyle Swenson
Dressed in a faded pair of jeans cut off just below the knee and a clean, white wife beater with a tiny two-piece swimsuit underneath, grooving to a Mudhoney CD spinning in her boom box, Ginger looks more like a student rocker than a part-time hooker. "You could make good money working for Arthur," she says, referring to a man she contends was once her pimp, Arthur Vanmoor. "But you really had to work!" Ginger makes her own hours now that she's independent. Rarely, she explains, does she awaken before noon if she can help it.
The curtains are drawn in room 103, darkening the kitchenette in the Intracoastal motel that is Ginger's base of operations this afternoon. A small color TV is tuned to the Discovery Channel but flickers silently on mute. The 26-year-old, dye-job redhead scoots across the tile floor in big, fuzzy slippers to answer her cell phone. After providing vague directions to the caller, she says sternly, "I don't feel comfortable discussing that on the phone." Then she's all smiles, scooting back to the couch, friendly and forthcoming, prone to using phrases like "yackety shmackety." Only a few sad, gray teeth reveal Ginger's rough-and-tumble past. Though she advertises services on a local website, www.independentgirls.com, Ginger doesn't want her last name used for this article. "My family lives down here, dude," she says, a wave of her burning cigarette putting a smoky end to the discussion. "Are you kidding?"
A little more than two years ago, Ginger had a job bartending at a little hangout in Boca Raton. But when the place closed, "I was in a bad position," she admits. Then she saw an ad in a local newspaper seeking escorts. "So I answered it," she says. "I figured, 'Hey, I can do this -- it's no big deal. '"
She called the number, and, like eight other women who have given statements about Vanmoor to prosecutors, she was sent to an office near I-95 and Sample Road in Pompano Beach. Indeed, the statements from the eight, who have names like Sarah, Queenie, and Cintia, generally confirm Ginger's version of a typical escort's first day on the job: "You walk in, and they hire you immediately," she recalls. "And for the first call you have to go on -- and they don't tell you who it is -- they say, 'Oh, you have a regular, a guy who sees the girls as soon as they get hired.' And that's Arthur, but they don't tell you it's Arthur."
Echoing the statements from the other escorts as well as police surveillance, Ginger claims she met with Vanmoor at a Day's Inn near the office. "He answered his door in this ratty green Speedo-type underwear," Ginger recalls. "And he's so matter of fact! He didn't make me comfortable at all. After I showed up, he just looked me over and basically said, 'OK, suck my dick. '"
During which, Ginger says, Vanmoor kept himself occupied by watching television. Then he attempted to gauge Ginger's skills by determining how suggestible she was. "The second time I saw him, about a month later," Ginger continues, "he tried to do the Greek thing. And I told him that wasn't gonna happen. He tried not to wear a condom. He would try to talk you into things you did not want to do. He would see how much he could get away with. He's not nice. He's not pleasant." She pauses a moment before softly recollecting this odd tidbit: "Although his genitalia always smelled like gingerbread, which I never understood."
These days, Arthur Vanmoor sits in a Broward County jail cell, accused of money laundering, racketeering, and conspiracy along with various prostitution-related raps. Not far behind the detectives are immigration officers, who want to deport Vanmoor.
Prosecutors allege that the Dutch-born mogul's escort business made him a millionaire. True to stereotype, his (leased) rides have included a white 1991 Rolls-Royce and a speeding-ticket-red Ferrari. And before legal woes derailed his empire, court documents show, Vanmoor made his home on Hillsboro Mile. He evidently had a penchant for top-dollar cribs: one beachfront home cost him $18,000 a month; another "rooftop garden apartment" in a nearby high-rise rented for $11,000 monthly.
The gruff Dutchman is something of an anomaly in the vice business. When he wasn't running an escort service, Vanmoor, who is a member of Palm Beach County Mensa, donned his inventor's hat, churning out patents for a cancer cure, a caulking gun, and a male chastity belt -- a halter-like contraption that suggests a modern version of a medieval torture device. In fact, between 1995 and 2003, Vanmoor obtained 52 U.S. patents. The first was for an antishoplifting tag; since then, he has patented high blood pressure cures, menstrual cramp remedies, axial flow fans, sulfur-based compounds to enhance one's immune system, and something called a "bone cement injector gun."
Vanmoor has been arrested twice for alleged pimping. When Fort Lauderdale vice officers first collared him -- on prostitution and pandering charges in 1998 -- he played an impressive game of hardball, hiring a pair of private dicks to dig dirt on detectives. In December 2001, prosecutors dropped the more serious charges. Vanmoor pleaded no contest to three counts of soliciting a prostitute in May 2002.