William “Dollar Bill” Mersey advertised Asian escorts on his website “Dollar Bill’s Psycho Roundup,” pled guilty to tax evasion. He is also fined $ 3.5 million.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Wednesday, October 5, 2016, 4:00 AM
Dollar Bill is making it rain for the U.S. Treasury.
A Manhattan man whose website “Dollar Bill’s Psycho Roundup” advertises sexy escorts with their phone numbers, has pleaded guilty to tax evasion and agreed to fork over $ 3.5 million in penalties to the feds, the Daily News has learned.
William Mersey, 66, cut a deal late last month with the Brooklyn U.S. Attorney’s office on the tax charges in which he will face up to three years in prison. He admitted that the income stated on his 2011 tax return of $ 17,564 was false, according to court papers.
But no further criminal charges will be brought against Mersey for promoting prostitution or laundering the proceeds of prostitution from January 2007 to Aug. 1, 2015 under the plea agreement hammered out with Assistant U.S. Attorney Brendan King.
Mersey admitted under-reporting substantial income from advertising on the website, which is an ethnic smorgasbord of scantily-clad women in lingerie and bikinis. It also promotes Mersey’s book, “A Kid in the Candy Store, My Life in the Escort Business,” which can be purchased for $ 3.
“I’m really not a bad guy,” he told the Daily News outside the East Village apartment he’s lived in for 40 years.
“I’m the only American who lives below his means,” he quipped, noting that he has never had a credit card.
His lawyer, Michael Weinstein of the New Jersey law firm Cole Schotz, called him “a classic New York personality — eclectic, strong-willed and opinionated. But that doesn’t diminish his responsibility to pay his fair share of taxes.”
No criminal charges will be filed against Mersey as long as he refrains from participating in the promotion of prostitution.
“He’s very remorseful and wants to turn the corner and head for new opportunities in the future,” Weinstein added.
The court papers do not reveal how much income Mersey actually was pulling in from the escort ads, but show that Internal Revenue Service agents seized more than $ 6.5 million from his various accounts. He agreed to forfeit $ 3.5 million for his crime, and the government will return the remainder of the seized monies.
“I had the money” to pay back the government, Mersey said, adding he’s hoping not to have to do too much time behind bars.
“I’ve done my research, I know exactly what federal prison camp is. I just hope it’s going to be OK,” he said.
Mersey came up with his money nickname as a slogan for his business — “Get the best bang for your advertising buck with Dollar Bill,” Weinstein said.
Mersey said he previously worked as a cabbie, and wrote first person “slice of life” stories in 1990s for the Daily News, New York Times, Village Voice and other local newspapers.
“I was adopted as the op-ed cabbie for the mainstream media,” he said.
Mersey’s website also promotes his book, “A Kid in the Candy Store, My Life in the Escort Business.”
Weinstein insisted his client had no involvement in prostitution — and Mersey’s blog is a tad prudish.
On Sept. 25 he displayed a Daily News front page about the Anthony Weiner sexting scandal with his moralistic view of the disgraced congressman’s problems.
“Consider all the Korean cuties who’ve have appeared on the sidebar of this blog in the past 6 or 7 years,” he wrote. “And imagine that I have not even come close to doing anything inappropriate with them in all that time.”
“Why is it that these influential politicians can’t restrain themselves when I can?” Mersey wrote.
Mersey’s case is different from one that federal prosecutors in Brooklyn brought last year against the online gay escort service Rentboy.com. The CEO of that site, Jeffrey Hurant, was charged with promoting prostitution and is scheduled to plead guilty Friday in Brooklyn Federal Court.
The Dollar Bill website contains a disclaimer that it is does not promote illegal activities although it has a roundup of hotties featured, including Maria, a “naturally busty Columbiana” in the Financial District, a Chinese “Honey Bunny” in the East 50s, and Russian women in Midtown for whom “the word ‘nyet’ (no) is not in their vocabulary.”