SEVERE WX : Freeze Warning View Alerts

Lafayette business owners accused of racketeering after Deal Zone raid

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.

Posted: Apr 8, 2021 2:56 PM
Updated: Apr 8, 2021 6:32 PM

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.

Lafayette
Cloudy
36° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 30°
Kokomo
Partly Cloudy
31° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 25°
Rensselaer
Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 26°
Lafayette
Cloudy
36° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 30°
Danville
Cloudy
33° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 29°
Frankfort
Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 25°
Frankfort
Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 25°
Monticello
Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 27°
Monticello
Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 27°
Logansport
Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 28°
Snow to Two Nights of Freezing...
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 709455

Reported Deaths: 13234
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion967001722
Lake51824946
Allen39279673
Hamilton34580406
St. Joseph34207541
Elkhart27376432
Vanderburgh22091394
Tippecanoe21886212
Porter17952299
Johnson17556374
Hendricks16837310
Clark12705190
Madison12358337
Vigo12226244
Monroe11484166
LaPorte11175204
Delaware10374184
Howard9677211
Kosciusko9152114
Hancock8000139
Bartholomew7896155
Warrick7698155
Floyd7567176
Wayne6910198
Grant6852171
Boone6562100
Morgan6404138
Dubois6086117
Marshall5792109
Dearborn570776
Cass5689102
Henry5582101
Noble542683
Jackson493970
Shelby479895
Lawrence4347118
Gibson429089
Harrison428970
Clinton420253
Montgomery418386
DeKalb412184
Whitley381439
Huntington380180
Miami373265
Knox367089
Steuben366657
Putnam353360
Jasper351346
Wabash347878
Adams338153
Ripley334968
Jefferson313280
White308554
Daviess289699
Wells286681
Decatur279192
Fayette277362
Greene270785
Posey269133
Scott261553
LaGrange254270
Clay253545
Randolph235880
Washington231131
Spencer228031
Jennings225147
Fountain208945
Sullivan207942
Starke205452
Owen192656
Fulton192140
Jay186429
Carroll186120
Perry181036
Orange178053
Rush170824
Vermillion166143
Franklin165635
Tipton161043
Parke144616
Blackford133931
Pike130334
Pulaski114045
Newton104234
Brown100740
Crawford97914
Benton97113
Martin82915
Warren80115
Switzerland7698
Union70110
Ohio56011
Unassigned0408

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events