Deborah Jeane Palfrey

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Deborah Jeane Palfrey (born 1956) is the former owner of Pamela Martin and Associates, which the United States government alleges was a prostitution service in Washington, D.C. She has been charged with operating a house of prostitution. She has been nicknamed the D.C. Madam. It has been alleged that her clients include many Beltway personalities, and State Department official Randall L. Tobias resigned after admitting he used the agency. She now lives in Escondido, California.



Palfrey was born in Charleroi, Pennsylvania, but grew up partially in Orlando, Florida. Her father was a grocer. She graduated from Rollins College with a degree in criminal justice, and attended Thomas Jefferson School of Law, but did not graduate. Working as a paralegal in San Diego, California, she became involved in the escort business, and dismayed at how most services were run, including widespread drug abuse, she started her own company.

D.C. Madam scandal

Palfrey appeared on ABC's 20/20 as part of an investigative report on 4 May 2007. In combination with Palfrey's statement that she has 10,000 to 15,000 phone numbers of clients, this has caused several clients' lawyers to contact Palfrey to see whether accommodations could be made to keep their identities private. Ultimately, the ABC News network, after poring through what was described as "46 lbs" (21 kg) of phone records, decided that none of the potential clients was sufficiently "newsworthy" to bother mentioning. [1]

The scandal has led to the resignation of Ambassador Randall L. Tobias from his State Department position, with the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Also named was Washington Times columnist Harlan Ullman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. [2]

Exclusive Radio Interviews

Since the Federal Government raided her northern California home and seized all her assets via the civil asset forfeiture process, Palfrey has been silent and has refused numerous requests for interviews. In April 2007, Palfrey contracted with to be the premier guest on the network's “My Side of the Story” Internet radio show. In the wsRadio interviews conducted by Lee Mirabal, Palfrey describes her home based business, details her ordeal with federal agents, and discusses her theory as to why the government is targeting her escort business. In addition, Ms. Palfrey responds to the names ABC discovered on her phone records. Ms. Palfrey adamantly disputes the government's claims of illegal behavior. According to Palfrey, her company "Pamela Martin and Associates" functioned as a high-end adult fantasy firm which offered legal sexual and erotic services across the spectrum of adult sexual behavior and did so without incident during its 13 year tenure.

The six hours of radio interviews will be auctioned to the highest bidder on eBay beginning 9 May 2007.

Prior legal problems

Palfrey has had prior legal problems, including a restraining order from a former boyfriend in 1989, and a 1990 arrest for prostitution. After fleeing to Montana, she was brought back for trial and spent 18 months in prison. After her release, despite a promise to enter another line of work, she founded Pamela Martin and Associates. The service openly recruited using The Diamondback, a student newspaper independent of the University of Maryland, and the Washington City Paper. According to court papers, her escorts charged as much as $300 per hour, and many have professional careers in addition. Palfrey continued to reside in California, and may have cleared some US$2 million over 13 years in operation.

In October 2006, federal agents raided Palfrey's home after a two-year investigation by the Internal Revenue Service and the United States Postal Inspection Service. Agents froze bank accounts worth over US$500,000, seizing papers relating to money laundering and prostitution charges.

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