LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Two people are sharing what they know about two business owners accused of racketeering, revealing more about their business practices and finances.
As News 18 previously reported, Fran and Menashi Cohen are defendants in a civil suit filed by the Tippecanoe County Prosecutor's Office alleging a pattern of racketeering, including money laundering, theft, forgery and perjury.
Court documents are revealing new details about a March 5 raid across Lafayette. Police seized electronics and other merchandise from Deal Zone and Treasure on Pallets, as well as more than $100,000, firearms, jewelry and other items from the Cohens.
"LPD pulled up and Penske trucks, the entire parking lot out here was filled with cops, there was a guy in a suit standing at the door," says Leah Mantle, an employee of the Dollar General near Treasure on Pallets who saw the raid happen. "They were out here in full uniform, they were out here in cop cars, Penske trucks, undercover-looking cars, and there was a lot of them."
Interviews with News 18 suggest the Cohens' cluttered businesses dealt in used and overstock items.
Local landlord Ron Hurst leased a space to Menashi Cohen to use for another business, CD Land, which closed last year.
"He had a little bit of this, a little bit of that ... never saw more than one shopper in there at a time, basically, and it seemed like it was operated more on the basis of a pawn shop than a retail store," he says.
Hurst says Menashi Cohen only paid about half of his rent at the location. Hurst says his real estate agent warned him about the man's reputation of avoiding rent payments.
"He had basically said, 'You're probably going to have to stay after to keep payments,' and that turned out to be pretty accurate," he says.
Hurst adds he isn't shocked by the recent allegations.
"You now what's going in the door and what's going out the door," he says. "How are you paying for everything? With what I was seeing, the volume of merchandise leaving and the kind of merchandise he had in there."
The Cohens are not facing criminal charges at this time. Police and prosecutors were not available for comment.
News 18 visited Menashi Cohen's home but he declined to comment. No one answered the door at Fran Cohen's home.