California Attorney General Kamala Harris was previously unsuccessful in putting the CEO and owners of the website “Backpage” behind bars after charging them with pimping through the website and other felony charges related to that one. But now, there is supposedly new evidence which Harris is going to use to bring the three men back to court.
Backpage is an online classified ads website which allows escorts to post advertisements. Authorities believe this section is really being used by prostitutes who want to offer their services to the public while disguised under the label “escort.” In Backpage’s defense, they are only publishing third-party content and are not responsible for what other people are putting out there. There is even a federal act which protects website owners from liability over these kinds of situations, which is how the three owners of Backpage got exonerated the first time.
However, Harris is now coming back and accusing the three owners of money laundering and sex crimes in connection to their website. Harris claims to have new evidence which allowed her to charge Backpage owners James Larkin, Michael Lacey and CEO Carl Ferrer with thirteen counts of pimping and conspiracy to commit pimping and twenty-six counts of money laundering. In the press release from Harris’ office, it stated that seven of the alleged victims in the pimping counts were children under the age of 18.
As for the money laundering charges, the three defendants are accused of creating numerous corporate entities which allowed them to get their Backpage transactions processed by financial institutions, even though they refused to do it for the one company because of the “overtly sexual material” on the website.
These kinds of cases should be scary for any website owner, especially if they aren’t aware of the advertisements being posted on their website by third parties.