September 18, 2019

Samantha Barbash Reveals the Truth behind 'Hustlers' Film in Which J-Lo Portrays Her

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"Robbing bankers because they robbed Wall Street or whatever—that never crossed my mind,” Samantha Barbash said as she tried to get her swindling story straight.

Samantha Barbash may have stolen from the rich and given to the poor, but seeing as she was the poor in this case, the 40-year-old didn't receive any props. 

Telling the story

Barbash, now 45, was a former hostess who worked as the brains alongside Roselyn Keo behind a plot to rob thousands of dollars from rich men who would remember nothing the morning after a night of wild sexual fun. 

Jennifer Lopez visits AT&T ON LOCATION during the Toronto International Film Festival in Canada on September 8, 2019 | Photo: Getty Images


Barbash and her partner in crime were arrested back in 2014. "Hustlers," a movie based on Barbash's criminal activities,  was just released on the 13th and stars singer and actress Jennifer Lopez. 

Additionally, Barbash just released her book, "Underscore," which she said tells the true story of her life without the inaccuracies portrayed in the film. 


An illegal enterprise

Barbash started dancing at just 19, reported New York Magazine. She had the so-called perfect body: a curvy figure, big lips, and dark black hair, though she claimed she never stripped. 

Instead, she recruited younger women with their also perfect bodies to entertain high-paying men. Many of these men were Fortune 500 employees, rappers, singers, and sports stars. 

The men were lured into private rooms where the women spiked their drinks with MDMA or ketamine. Then, Barbash and Keo would max out their clients' credit cards as they continued to entertain.



Barbash called herself a telemarketer

Barbash did recruitment, accounting, and marketing of her dirty business. From a list of numbers she had collected over the years, she reached out to potential clients at night and sent them sexy pictures. She explained: "You know, like a telemarketer would do."

She would use photos of herself as well as other women to tempt the men. After their drinks were spiked, the men often wouldn't remember anything the next day. 


The club had full control 

In an interview with the Sun, Barbash claimed she "never ran a credit card ever." Rather, she allowed many men to continue their drugged-up spending streak. 

"And I thought that the credit card should be cut off but the club didn’t want to shut off the credit cards because they want to keep making money," she said. The clubs were not charged later on.

Barbash even said she felt guilty sometimes "but the club runs the show." Plus, she ultimately wanted to care for her son. It wasn't about revenge on married men as "Hustlers" portrayed. 



The recording that ended it

Eventually, the whole scheme ended when a victim named Dr. Zyad Younan called a perpetrator to find out what had happened after his bank told him that he spent $135,000 on his credit card. 

Younan recorded as he got the girl to admit that he had been "fleeced by a gang of ex-strippers who had spiked his drink with narcotics." Barbara, Keo, and two other women were arrested soon after. 

Barbash and Keo did not receive jail time

Barbash received five years' probation in exchange for pleading guilty to conspiracy, assault, and grand larceny in April 2017. Keo pled guilty to grand larceny and attempted assault, also avoiding jail time. 


The women went their separate ways, but both have moved on from that life. Barbash has a new philosophy altogether. She called the arrest a "blessing in disguise." 


She started her own business

Barbash, who is still friends with some of her former clients and points to that as a sign of her innocence — applied here loosely — is now an entrepreneur. 

She encourages other girls to save up, avoid drugs, and invest their money instead of spending frivolously, though she did admit that it's hard to resist making upwards of five grand a night. 

After her illegal activities ended, Barbash opened a medical spa in New York. Her fiancé and son encouraged her to write her book "Underscore" which will be released later this month.



She's suing J-Lo 

Barbash is a big fan of Lopez, 50, but she says that the singer, along with production company STX Entertainment, did not receive permission to do her story. 

Furthermore, the story they're telling is untrue. Barbash said she was never on a pole as Lopez was in the film, and such a wrongful portrayal could be defamation. 

Keke Palmer, Cardi B, Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, and Lili Reinhart attend a "Hustlers" Photo Call in Los Angeles, California on August 25, 2019 | Photo: Getty Images

Barbash believes that rapper Cardi B, whose past included working in clubs, would have done a better job. Cardi B does star in the film, along with Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhard, and Constance Wu. 


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