Who Is Heidi Fleiss?
Heidi Fleiss is an American businesswoman and criminal. After dropping out of high school, Fleiss launched a high-class prostitution ring that catered to stars like Charlie Sheen. Dubbed the "Hollywood Madam," she was charged for pandering in 1993. Her "Black Book" of clients (which she never revealed) became as famous as her trial. The jury sentenced Fleiss to three years in prison.
Fleiss was born in Los Angeles, California on December 30, 1965. One of six children born to a prominent pediatrician, Fleiss dropped out of high school at the age of 16. After receiving her high school equivalency, she briefly attended Valley College and later Santa Monica College. Fleiss worked as a waitress, before beginning a relationship with financier Bernie Cornfeld. In 1988, she was introduced to Elizabeth Adams, a longtime Beverly Hills madam who dealt exclusively with a wealthy clientele.
The Hollywood Madam
In 1990, Fleiss launched her own high-class prostitution ring and soon became known as the "Hollywood Madam." In 1993, she was charged by the state of California with five counts of pandering. The case went to trial and a jury convicted Fleiss on three of the five counts. She received the mandatory minimum sentence of three years in prison, but in a 1996 appeal, the conviction was overturned after jurors admitted to vote-trading and other infractions. The following year, Fleiss was tried in a federal court, where she was convicted of tax evasion and money laundering. She received a 37-month sentence, which she served at the Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin, California.
All three trials drew extensive media coverage, as it was speculated that Fleiss might reveal the names contained in her now infamous "black book" of customers (which was said to include large numbers of prominent citizens). Notably, actor Charlie Sheen testified at her trial that he alone paid Fleiss $53,000 for the sexual services of prostitutes.
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