[There are spoilers ahead for basically the entire plot of Hustlers. If you don’t want to know how the movie ends, hop on out of this post!]
If you’re one of the many people who literally sprinted to theater to see Hustlers this weekend, you’re in luck, because aside from being the best thing you’ll see all year (@ me), the movie is based on a true story, which makes it even more fun to watch.
The film, starring Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu, follows a group of strippers who decide to con their Wall-Street-bro clients out of hundreds of thousands of dollars during the recession. It’s based on an article that ran in New York Magazine in 2015 called “The Hustlers at Scores,” by Jessica Pressler. Here’s the basic gist of what went down, according to the story.
Okay, tell me how this whole thing started.
According to Pressler’s story, Rosie Keo (called Destiny in the movie, played by Constance) and Samantha Barbash (Jennifer’s character, Ramona) were stripping at Scores in New York City when they realized they wanted to make more money. Their clients were willing to drop insane amounts of cash. Rosie remembered one guy who dropped $ 300,000 in one week.
The economy had started to go to sh*t, the club needed customers, so Samantha would text the guys in her phone, have another girl meet him out and get him drunk. From there, they’d bring him back to club and run up his credit card as much as they possibly could. They’d often use drugs to “help” the guys spend more.
Wait, how were they able to run up such crazy charges?
One of the women would literally call the credit card company to give them the guy’s info while he was high off the drugs they gave him.
“I was on the phone with American Express half the time verifying his last four digits of Social, his mother’s maiden name, his last purchases, and their name, and their location, and how much was being charged,” Rosie told Pressler.
How did they get caught?
Like they showed in the movie, sometimes customers would call to complain about the charges, but usually they would drop it.
But there was one client, called Fred in the article, who finally went to the police when his card was charged for $ 17,000. The cops came to his house while he called the women, who finally explained that he’d been drugged. They officially had proof.
The cops arrested the girl from the call (who wasn’t Rosie or Samantha, but one of their associates), and she confessed to everything, becoming a confidential informant. Another guy racked up $ 135,000 in charges and eventually went to the cops to report the women, as well, which lead to their arrests.
How much jail time did they actually serve?
Rosie took a deal with the prosecution, so she didn’t have to go to jail. Samantha and two other members of their crew (played by Lili Reinhart and Keke Palmer in the movie) pleaded guilty to conspiracy, assault, and grand larceny.
Rosie got five years’ probation, and Samantha did, too. The other two women service four months of weekends in jail, which is apparently a thing you can do.