Hearing set for Backpage.com founder in case over sex ads

14 April, 2018, 20:15 | Author: Irene Delgado
  • Backpage.com Seized, 93-Count Federal Indictment Levied Against Prostitution Website

In his plea agreement, Carl Ferrer, 57, admitted that he had always been aware that the great majority of Backpage's "escort" and "adult" advertisements were for prostitution services, the department said in a statement.

"While there is no silver bullet to end sex trafficking, to stop its largest beneficiary is a huge step in the right direction", Krell said following the hearing.

Under his plea agreement, Ferrer agreed to make the company's data available to law enforcement as investigations and prosecutions continue.

They are Michael Lacey, 69, of Paradise Valley, Arizona; James Larkin, 68, of Paradise Valley, Arizona; Scott Spear, 67, of Scottsdale, Arizona; John E. "Jed" Brunst, 66, of Phoenix, Arizona; Daniel Hyer, 49, of Dallas, Texas; Andrew Padilla, 45, of Plano, Texas; and Jaala Joye Vaught, 37, of Addison, Texas.

The founders also were among those indicted this month by a federal grand jury in Arizona. Attorneys for the company and Lacey, Larkin and Ferrer did not respond to multiple telephone and email messages from The Associated Press.

Backpage - accused of being the biggest website for prostitution in the world, with its classifieds used to promote paid-for sex with minors and victims of human trafficking - was abruptly shut down by USA authorities on April 6.

Ferrer then traveled to Sacramento where he pleaded guilty to money laundering once more and was released on bond.

In the plea agreement Ferrer - identified in the indictment only by the initials "C.F." - acknowledged wrongdoing, saying he worked with co-conspirators to "create "moderation" processes through which Backpage would remove terms and pictures that were particularly indicative of prostitution and then publish a revised version of the ad".

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From the Texas Attorney General's Office. He called Ferrer's plea "a game-changer in combatting human trafficking in California, indeed worldwide".

A co-founder of the advertising site Backpage.com will remain jailed through the weekend in Arizona on charges of facilitating prostitution.

Backpage pleaded guilty to facilitating the sex trafficking of women and children through sites it ran for 943 locations in 97 countries and 17 languages.

The chief executive order, Carl Ferrer, pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy and three counts of money laundering in California, and to money laundering in Texas, " the states' attorneys-general declared. This comes less than a week after the attorney general's office assisted the Department of Justice with permanently shutting down the website.

Ferrer, along with Lacey and Larkin, had faced criminal charges for conspiracy to pimp and other related counts in California. Brown ruled that the charges are barred by a federal law protecting free speech that grants immunity to websites posting content from others.

President Trump yesterday signed the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017 into law, making it easier for law enforcement to take legal action against any websites that enable human trafficking.

State prosecutors changed tack past year, filing almost 40 new money laundering charges against Ferrer, Larkin and Lacey. Backpage was owned by a Dutch-based company.

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