Police Charge Haverhill Tax Advisor, 78, on House of Prostitution, Drug Charges After Overdose Death

John L. Caruso in Haverhill District Court. (WHAV News photograph.)

A 78-year-old Haverhill financial advisor was ordered held on $75,000 cash bail Friday after being arrested and charged with allegedly maintaining a house of prostitution, two counts of trafficking a person for sexual servitude and other sex and drug charges following an investigation into an alleged drug overdose death last month.

John L. Caruso, described as a financial advisor and tax preparer, was arrested Friday morning by Haverhill police on a warrant after a local and State Police investigation into the Jan. 8 drug overdose death of an unnamed 32-year-old woman, according to Assistant District Attorney Mark Hintlian. The woman was found dead at 173 River St., Haverhill, where the prosecutor said Caruso operates his business and apartment building.

Hintlian told Haverhill District Court Judge Susan H. McNeil the overdose victim was found in a chair after rigor mortis set in, suggesting the death had occurred many hours before. He added investigation into the death led to the issuance of a search warrant and the discovery of cell telephones, revealing evidence of “sexual servitude in exchange for drugs” involving three living victims, and the seizure of suboxone, cannabis, a crack pipe and Brillo pads for use with the crack pipe. The prosecutor added the three named victims described their relationship with Caruso as being allowed to use his apartments in exchange for sexual favors.

Besides maintaining a house of prostitution and two counts of trafficking a person for sexual servitude, Caruso was charged with sexual conduct for a fee, possession of fentanyl and marijuana and distribution of such drugs as suboxone and pills.

The prosecutor said it is “very probable” a grand jury will be convened to determine whether the seriousness of the charges warrants moving the case to Superior Court.

Moreover, Hintlian said, Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) food cards, belonging to women, were found in Caruso’s residence. Hintlian said Caruso would pay cash for the cards “at less than full value.” For these payments, Caruso was additionally charged with usury.

A business partner was quoted by the prosecutor as saying, Caruso “likes to have young ladies around.” McNeil agreed to Hintlian’s request that police records be impounded to protect the names of victims.

Hintlian asked for $250,000 cash bail and conditions, if released, of house arrest and monitoring by GPS, no access to drugs and no contact with victims. Caruso’s lawyer, William Boland of Gleason Law Offices of Haverhill argued instead for $15,000 cash bail—an amount he said his client has on hand, plus conditions. Boland made the case that Caruso is not a flight risk as he is a longtime Haverhill and Merrimack Valley resident, will turn 79 years old in a few months, earned a master’s degree in finance, has three daughters and has no record of defaulting on probation after an earlier drug arrest.

Asked by McNeil, why Caruso wasn’t additionally charges with a subsequent arrest, Hintlian said additional charges could come if Caruso is indicted by a grand jury. McNeil set bail at $75,000 cash. If Caruso makes bail, he would be subject to the conditions requested by the district attorney’s office.

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