Circus Clown Is Charged In Escort Sting

Performer claimed it was his first time "prostituting"

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Clown Collared

JULY 9--Prosecutors have charged a Pennsylvania man who works as a professional clown with attempting to moonlight as a hooker, according to court records.

Francis Bui, 28, was named in a July 2 criminal complaint accusing him of promoting prostitution, a misdemeanor.

Pictured above in costume and in mugshot, Bui is known professionally as The Amazing Franko and has performed across the nation at county fairs, schools, and other venues.

According to the complaint, Bui was snared in a mid-May undercover operation launched by police in Carbondale, a suburb of Scranton (where Bui resides). 

Investigators monitoring online posts offering escort services in the Scranton area discovered an ad offering sexual services by a male--later identified as Bui--who included his phone number in the “sexually explicit” post.

In a subsequent text message exchange, the suspect allegedly offered to perform condom-free sexual acts on the undercover and quoted a $100-an-hour rate. The cop agreed to the price and arranged a rendezvous at a Carbondale hotel.

When Bui showed at the hotel, cops say, he was arrested. During police questioning, Bui reportedly claimed “this was his first time prostituting and stated he knew it was wrong.”

Bui told cops he “is a professional clown...and recently got back from traveling with the circus." The performer, cops reported, “stated money was so low so he was prostituting to supplement his income.”

The phone number in the escort ad has also appeared on The Amazing Franko’s Facebook page, which recently appears to have been deleted.

Bui is scheduled for an August 16 preliminary hearing in Magisterial District Court. (1 page)