Rentboy.com founder and CEO Jeffrey Hurant has been hit with Federal charges of promoting prostitution and money laundering after failing to cut a deal with prosecutors.
The not totally surprising outcome comes five months after agents first smashed the doors in at the self-styled largest male escort site in the world, and seized the domain.
Rentboy.com said it did not advertise sexual services, and merely acted as a directory for escorts. However, the Feds claimed the site was nothing more than an internet brothel.
Indeed, the Feds alleged the site had been facilitating prostitution for 18 years. Which raises the question of just how long you can merrily carry on with a business before the government decides whether it's legal or not.
The New York Daily News reports that the indictment against Hurant alleges the site was not stringent about verifying escorts’ age. The indictment also apparently claimed that it did business with a Florida-based agency alleged to have enticed Hungarian men into sex slavery. The G men are also going after $1.5m seized from the firm’s office and accounts.
Seven suspects were arrested in the original raid last summer, sparking demonstrations by LGBTQ and sex workers' rights activists outside the Brooklyn courthouse.
“The government's charges against Mr. Hurant are unwarranted," Hurant's lawyer Michael Tremonte told the New York Daily News. "He ran his business openly for nearly 20 years, and it makes no sense to single him out for criminal prosecution. Mr. Hurant plans to contest the charges and looks forward to full vindication at trial." ®