Backpage.com CEO Carl Ferrer has pled guilty to money laundering and the company he led has done likewise on charges of human trafficking.
US authorities seized and shuttered the site last week, and a few days later the Department of Justice charged seven staff and investors with 93 counts including conspiracy, money laundering, and facilitating prostitution.
Ferrer’s pleas came in Texas, where he was arrested in 2016 as part of a state probe into the site.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced Thursday that Ferrer has cooperated with the investigation, and “will be sentenced to up to five years in prison once he’s fulfilled the terms of his plea agreement.” Paxton also said that Ferrer’s still talking, which “could lead to other criminal charges against individuals associated with the company.”
And also the federal charges, which now look rather easier to prove given Ferrer’s willingness to sing like the proverbial canary.
Nobody except vile sickos will truly mourn the passing of Backpage: it was a nexus of underage sex trafficking in America. As we reported in 2016, the country's National Center for Missing and Exploited Children said the majority of the annual 10,000-plus cases referred to it involved Backpage.com classified sex ads. ®