Backpage officials charged with facilitating illegal sex work, money laundering

Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer was arrested in October 2016 on pimping charges which were later dismissed by a judge

Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer was arrested in October 2016 on pimping charges which were later dismissed by a judge

Since it launched in 2004, Backpage has laundered some of the $500 million in prostitution revenue it's received; nearly every dollar the website made was through illegal activity, according to the indictment.

The site's founders are charged in an alleged scheme to promote prostitution and to launder money.

Paul Cambria Jr., one of Lacey's attorneys, said in court records that the case will not likely lead to convictions.

A hearing was scheduled Wednesday over whether Lacey should be released from jail.

The extension of almost six kilometres will lead to a faster commute and less time in traffic, Trudeau told a news conference. A similar hearing is set Thursday for Larkin. The status of the remaining two defendants, Dan Hyer and Andrew Padilla, was not immediately clear.

Michael Kimerer, a lawyer for Brunst, and Stephen Weiss, an attorney for Vaught, didn't return a call for comment.

The FBI began the process of seizing Backpage and its affiliated websites on Friday afternoon. "Together with our law enforcement partners, the Federal Bureau of Investigation will continue to vigorously combat this activity and protect those who are victimized".

As Complex previously reported, the government put an end to the classified ads website Backpage.com on Friday-a major blow to consenting workers who relied on the site to find clients.

The site shut down its "adult" section past year under legal pressure, but sex workers had largely migrated to other parts of the site. Critics said the site not only promoted illegal prostitution but facilitated sex trafficking and sexual abuse of children.

"Many of the ads published on Backpage depicted children who were victims of sex trafficking", the indictment states. "But this illegality stops right now".

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The indictment accuses Backpage of facilitating prostitution committed by those posting ads on the site, specifically citing 17 victims trafficked on Backpage, some as young as 14. One victim was allegedly murdered by a customer.

Sex ads posted on the site have included those involving children being trafficked by adults.

Backpage associates were also actively involved in editing ads and advising on how they should be worded, according to the indictment.

The 93-count indictment was filed days after the Federal Bureau of Investigation shut down the website accused of knowingly facilitating sex trafficking.

But while Section 230 has helped online entrepreneurs, it has frustrated criminal prosecutors and people seeking redress through the court system by forcing them to track down often anonymous users, rather than targeting the websites that host the content.

As to laundering, Backpage revenue was electronically transferred into and out of foreign nations. The money from that account was then wired to another entity called Cereus Properties LLC, prosecutors said, and then finally made it back to backpage.com or certain individual defendants.

The founders are already facing money laundering charges in California.

The latest case in Arizona features different charges under federal law.

The website's chief executive, Carl Ferrer, is not named in the indictment.

About a year ago, Joe Manson started the group "Clean Up Kennedy" to raise awareness on the issue of sex trafficking in Tampa. The U.S. Justice Department said it was responding to charges that the website had become a venue for human traffickers, particularly those trading in children.

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