Backpage CEO Pleads Guilty To Human Trafficking And Money Laundering

Backpage.com Seized, 93-Count Federal Indictment Levied Against Prostitution Website

Sex website CEO pleads guilty in Sacramento to money laundering in Backpage case | The Sacramento Bee

Two years ago, he launched his office's Human Trafficking and Transnational/Organized Crime Section, which prosecutes human traffickers around the state of Texas.

Along with the prison time, Ferrer could also face a $250,000 fine in the federal case in Arizona, while Backpage.com could face a maximum fine of $500,000 for its money laundering conspiracy plea in the Arizona case.

"For far too long, Backpage.com existed as the dominant marketplace for illicit commercial sex, a place where sex traffickers frequently advertised children and adults alike", U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a written statement announcing the pleas. "But this illegality stops right now".

Ferrer's guilty plea is the latest domino to fall in a rush of developments against the site.

Backpage was seized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies on April 6, according to a notice on the site. Ferrer's attorneys did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Ferrer has also agreed in his California plea to take down every Backpage-affiliated website that he can within five days and forfeit all Backpage-related domains within 14 days.

The statement did not state, however, where the pleas were entered or if they were entered in Texas.

"Such editing did not, of course, change the essential nature of the illegal service being offered in the ad - it was merely meant to create a veneer of deniability for Backpage", Ferrer said.

A co-founder of the advertising site Backpage.com will remain jailed through the weekend in Arizona on charges of facilitating prostitution. But a letter provided to the committee before the hearing said the site and its employees "agree that human trafficking is abhorrent and should be eradicated" and that it "has spent thousands of hours and millions of dollars" working with law enforcement to fight trafficking. "I want to thank the attorney general of California, the U.S. Department of Justice, federal law enforcement officials, Nueces County District Attorney Mark Gonzalez, and the prosecutors and law enforcement in my office for their outstanding collaborative work on this investigation and prosecution".

But Brown threw out pimping conspiracy and other state charges against Backpage's operators. The executive has agreed to testify against fellow co-founders of the website, several of whom are now in prison and awaiting full detention hearings scheduled for next week.

State agents raided the Dallas headquarters of Backpage and arrested Ferrer on a California warrant after he arrived at Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport on a flight from Amsterdam on October 6, 2016. The Dutch-owned company is incorporated in DE, but its principal place of business is in Dallas. "There is no one in the entire world who made more money off sex trafficking than the owners of this website", she said.

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