Feds Raid Rentboy.com's Offices; CEO, Employees Arrested, Charged With Promoting Prostitution
While you were sleeping, agents from the Department of Homeland Security raided the NYC offices of Rentboy.com, the premier site for gay escorts, as part of a money laundering and state prostitution. Rentboy.com's CEO Jeffrey Hurant along with 6 current and former employees were charged in a criminal complaint (which you can read, below) filed in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, with conspiring to violate the Travel Act by promoting prostitution. Self-described as the "the world's destination to meet the perfect male escort or masseur," RentBoy.com said on its website that it had been operating since 1996 and had a database of more than 10,500 men in 2,100 cities worldwide. Self-described as the "the world's destination to meet the perfect male escort or masseur," RentBoy.com said on its Web site that it had been operating since 1996 and had a database of more than 10,500 men in 2,100 cities worldwide. Prosecutors said that while the site had disclaimers saying its thousands of paid advertisements for escorts were for companionship and not sexual services, the site was intended primarily to advertise illegal prostitution. Prosecutors, hilariously, provided examples in the their criminal complaint. According to the complaint, the site charged subscribers at least $59.95 per month and up to several hundred dollars to advertise their services, enabling Rentboy.com to generate more than $10 million from 2010 to 2015, prosecutors said. "As alleged, Rentboy.com attempted to present a veneer of legality, when in fact this Internet brothel made millions of dollars from the promotion of illegal prostitution," Acting Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Kelly Currie said in a statement. More than $1.4 million was also seized from the company's six bank accounts and its domain name has been restricted. The six employees charged were Michael Belman, 47, Clint Calero, 48, Edward Estanol, 23, Shane Lukas, 41, Diana Mattos, 43 and Marco Decker, 28. If convicted, each faces up to five years behind bars and a fine of up to $250,000.
Here's the criminal complaint. (WARNING: Language)