Rentboy.com CEO, staff busted in Union Square office for alleged prostitution …

26 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

7 Charged With Promoting Male Prostitution At Manhattan Escort Service.

A self-proclaimed cyber pimp who operated an online gay escort service out of a Manhattan office was busted Tuesday for promoting prostitution, federal authorities said.NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The chief executive of a Manhattan-based online male escort service and six of his employees at Rentboy.com were arrested Tuesday on charges of promoting prostitution.The New York City offices of RentBoy.com, which touts itself as “The World’s Largest Male Escort Site,” were raided by federal agents Tuesday afternoon.

CEO Jeffrey Hurant, arrested at the company’s Manhattan headquarters along with six other employees, was charged with conspiring to violate the Travel Act by promoting prostitution, Reuters reported. Jeffrey Hurant, the CEO of Rentboy.com who claims he attended Oxford University, allegedly raked in more than $10 million between 2010 and 2015 from male prostitutes who paid monthly subscription fees to advertise to prospective johns. “Escort profile pages generally detail the sexual acts each escort is willing to perform and the price,” U.S. Agents from the Department of Homeland Security, along with officers from the NYPD, carried boxes of documents and computer servers out of the Rentboy operations center.

Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn accused Jeffrey Hurant of selling advertisements to high-priced male prostitutes for several hundred dollars, then charging Rentboy.com customers up to $299 a month to access the ads. The site, which was taken offline sometime Tuesday afternoon, hosts thousands of paid ads offering “companionship,” but prosecutors allege the site is actually pushing prostitution. Rentboy.com, whose slogan is “the world’s destination to meet the perfect male escort or masseur,” has been operating since 1997 and boasts a clientele of 10,500 men in 2,100 cities around the world. Hurant, 50, blabbed in an interview with unidentified reporters that while in England, he learned the term “rentboy” was slang for an escort, and that he started the website “to keep the oldest profession in the world up to date with all the latest technology,” according to the complaint.

But prosecutors argue that while Rentboy peppered the site with disclaimers that its escorts were for companionship and not paid for sex, its intentions were to advertise for prostitutes. “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,” Kelly Currie, acting Brooklyn U.S. attorney, said in a statement. Outside court, he and his lawyer insisted his business was a legitimate companionship service, and that similar escort websites elsewhere have operated without becoming the target of a federal investigation. The RentBoy.com website was still live on the Internet as of Tuesday afternoon, when a search for Alabama escorts came up with three results – two in Birmingham and one in Mobile.

Authorities served warrants to seize more than $1.4 million from six bank accounts and sought to restrain the site’s domain name, which was still functional as of press time. The Mobile listing advertises the services of “Pornstar Tony Serrano,” who writes that he is the “[s]tar of many hot skin flix,” and describes himself as “a very down to earth, masculine Spanish/Italian guy that is very sensual & intelligent.

Also charged were six former and current employees of the website including marketing director Michael Belman, who is married to a Yale University professor of American Studies, and former accountant Marco Decker, who is married to a Mt. Each defendant faces up to five years in prison if convicted of conspiring to commit crimes involving interstate or foreign travel, WCBS 880’s Ginny Kosola reported. I can stimulate u both mentally & physically,” before detailing his looks and sexual prowess and explaining that his “out rate” is $250 or more per hour while he charges $1,000 for an overnight encounter.

The Internet has long harbored dark places where people can access and obtain illegal activities and materials – from prostitution and child pornography to mail-order illicit drugs and weapons. Edward Estanol, who is identified in the court papers as a male escort, listed his “in-and-out rate as $300 an hour, his overnight rate as $1,400 and his weekend rate as $3,000,” the complaint states. The raid comes on the heels of the release earlier this month of a trove of data hacked from the website AshleyMadison.com, which helps married individuals find people who will have affairs with them.

Diana Mattos, a sales account manager at the website, called herself an “escort whisperer” who helped the male prostitutes raise their social media profiles. Asked by an undercover investigator who went to the 2015 Hookies how the show started, Hurant responded, “Have you ever had sex with anyone and it was so good you had to tell someone? The fallout from that hack continues this week, as more people find out that their spouses used the site, and public figures names emerge from the data dump.

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