She was the pampered princess from Williamsville who declared on national TV: “I do feel sorry for people that are not gorgeous people.”
In 2008, Alicia Guastaferro – a frequent child beauty pageant contestant with the trophies and tiara to prove it – became an instant target of ridicule after her family appeared on the ABC reality TV show “Wife Swap.”
“I live a very carefree life where I have no chores," she was quoted as saying in the episode in which her parents gave her a brand-new Chevy Tahoe, even though she wasn’t old enough to drive it. “I have anything I want. It’s a great life. I love it.”
Five years later, her life seems anything but great.
Her father is in prison for money laundering, and her mother was convicted of tax evasion.
And early Monday, Guastaferro, now 20, was charged with prostitution after she was found with her alleged john, a Rochester attorney, who was slumped over the steering wheel of his car at a Thruway rest stop.
Court records show that Guastaferro is also a plaintiff in a lawsuit over wages against the Mustang Sally strip club where she had been a dancer.
The sordid tale began to unfold shortly after midnight Monday when a truck driver called the Thruway Authority to report seeing a gray car being driven erratically.
“All of a sudden, all of the traffic in front of me, around the gray car, began stopping,” the trucker said in a statement to police. “I saw the gray-looking car was swerving from lane to lane without signaling and driving about 40 mph. He narrowly missed hitting another truck.”
A state trooper was dispatched to the area and located a car that was “improperly parked” in the Pembroke service area. The engine was running, the lights were on, and the driver, identified as James D. Doyle, 54, was slumped over the steering wheel of his car. In the passenger seat was Guastaferro, who was also “slumped over.”
The trooper noted that Doyle’s speech was slurred, he had “watery/bloodshot eyes,” and there was a strong odor of alcohol on his breath. When he refused a breath test, Doyle was arrested on a misdemeanor count of driving while intoxicated and a slew of traffic violations.
Another trooper then began to question Guastaferro, who identified herself as “Brittany Y. Myers,” with a birth date of Sept. 23, 1989.
Police said they quickly determined she had given a false name and read her Miranda rights to her.
She then admitted that she was Alicia Guastaferro and that her birthday was Sept. 11, 1991.
The troopers also told her they found a small pink mint tin containing pills. She said they were Paxil and Valium.
This is what occurred, according to police records:
Guastaferro told the troopers that she met Doyle two years ago while she was bartending.
She admitted that earlier in the evening, Doyle took her out to dinner at Carrabba’s in Amherst and that he bought her three pomegranate martinis. She said Doyle was the one who gave her the fake ID so that they could drink and that she could be in a casino with him.
The trooper then asked if he gave her anything else.
“Come on, Alicia. What else does he pay you?”
Guastaferro then began to cry, records show.
“He gives me $500 to $700 to spend the night.”
“$500 to $700 a night? To consummate?” the trooper asked.
“I’m sorry. I don’t know what you mean,” she replied.
“For sexual favors?” the trooper clarified.
“Ya,” she said. “We have sex. $500 to $700, he gives me.”
She went on to explain that they meet about two times a month. She also said he hadn’t paid her yet.
“He pays me in the morning,” she said.
At some point after being questioned, Guastaferro suffered an “apparent seizure” and was taken to Erie County Medical Center, where she was treated in the emergency room. She was issued an appearance ticket on misdemeanor charges of second-degree criminal impersonation, criminal possession of a controlled substance and third-degree prostitution.
Guastaferro is scheduled to appear in Pembroke Town Court next Thursday.
In addition to the DWI and traffic violations, Doyle was charged with patronizing a prostitute and unlawful dealing with a child because of the underage alcohol allegations, both misdemeanors.
Doyle told The Buffalo News he “categorically” denies all of the charges.
Attorney Herbert L. Greenman, whom Guastaferro identified as her lawyer and who had represented her mother, said he had not yet spoken with Alicia and could not comment.
In 2009, Alicia’s father, Ralph J. Guastaferro pleaded guilty to laundering $1.2 million in illegal proceeds for a Canadian telemarketing scheme. He was sentenced later to two years in prison.
Her mother, Karen Guastaferro admitted failing to declare wages for half her workers at a glass tint shop the couple owned.
The mother was ordered to pay $56,670 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service and was put on three years’ probation, including six months of house arrest.
Last month, Alicia Guastaferro joined a federal court lawsuit against Mustang Sally’s Spirits and Grill, which owns several local strip clubs.
In her court papers, Guastaferro contends that she worked as a dancer at the clubs and, like the dancer who initiated the suit, asked to be paid for overtime and other compensation she was allegedly denied by the owners of the clubs.
In 2010, she also filed a lawsuit seeking $100 million in damages against ABC, saying she was ridiculed by her peers and suffered panic attacks and suicidal tendencies after appearing on reality TV.
Her lawsuit said her producers ordered her to “act a little more spoiled” and staged some of the scenes.
News Staff Reporter Phil Fairbanks contributed to this report.