CEO of Escort Company Rentboy.com Pleads Guilty to Promoting Prostitution & Backpage.com Executives Arrested for Felony Sex Charges

Posted by Keith Hall | Oct 13, 2016 | 0 Comments

The chief executive officer of New York based male escort site Rentboy.com, plead guilty and admitted in federal court in Brooklyn that he violated the law by promoting "the exchange of sexual conduct in return for a fee".  He is scheduled to be sentenced on February 2nd, and is facing a sentence of approximately 21 months or less in federal prison.

Prosecutors made allegations that Rentboy was an online brothel, and escorts on the site sold were actually prostitutes. They said part of the proof were in the explicit ads that featured nude photos, listings of all manner of physical attributes and pricing options ranging from $150 an hour to $3,500 for a weekend. 

Prosecutors are becoming more creative in going after those who engage in online commerce that supports or facilitates prostitution.  They recently arrested the chief executive officer of Backpage.com in Texas, on a California warrant.  Texas State agents raided the Dallas headquarters of Backpage.com and made their arrest of CEO Carl Ferrer on 10/6/16 following allegations that adult and child sex-trafficking victims had been forced into prostitution through escort ads posted on the site.

Backpage.com raided, CEO arrested for sex-trafficking | The Seattle Times

California Attorney General Kamala Harris said that Ferrer was arrested on felony charges of pimping a minor, pimping, and conspiracy to commit pimping. He is being held in lieu of $500,000 bond and will face an extradition hearing before he can be returned to California.  Backpage.com raided, CEO arrested for sex-trafficking | The Seattle Times

“Raking in millions of dollars from the trafficking and exploitation of vulnerable victims is outrageous, despicable and illegal,” said Harris, a Democrat who is running for the U.S. Senate in next month's election. “Backpage and its executives purposefully and unlawfully designed Backpage to be the world's top online brothel.”

As I described in a previous blog entries, this is purposeful strategy to go after both the supply and demand side of online sex trafficking.  Our office regularly represents defendants who are arrested as consumers of prostitution services, usually derived from online advertising.  Now we are seeing the second part of this strategy, where prosecutors attempt to shut down the purveyors of this online advertising medium.

About the Author

Keith Hall

Keith is our firm's lead criminal defense attorney.

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