, CEO Plead Guilty in Sex-Trafficking Crackdown Seized, 93-Count Federal Indictment Levied Against Prostitution Website

DoJ seizes control of, hands down indictments related to sex trafficking

"But this illegality stops right now".

The federal plea deal says any prison sentence Ferrer would face would run concurrent with his 5-year terms in Texas and California.

According to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Ferrer has agreed to assist in the prosecution of Backpage's co-founders Michael Lacey and James Larkin, shut down the site worldwide, and hand over the site's data to law enforcement.

Ferrer additionally pleaded guilty to state money laundering charges in California as well as Texas, where the company itself pleaded guilty to human trafficking, according to the attorneys general in those states.

While many have lauded the charges as a blow to prostitution and human sex trafficking, many critics have argued that banning the site, which was commonly used to solicit sex, will now force women to sell themselves on the streets.

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Ferrer pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and three counts of money laundering.

"Backpage has earned hundreds of millions of dollars from facilitating prostitution and sex trafficking, placing profits over the well-being and safety of the many thousands of women and children who were victimized by its practices", said First Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth A. unusual.

The plea agreement provides that, if Ferrer fails to comply with either of these requirements, the plea agreement shall be null and void and the United States may bring additional charges against Ferrer.

The 61-page indictment, returned under seal March 28 by a federal grand jury, claimed that "virtually every dollar flowing into Backpage's coffers represents proceeds of illegal activity". On Monday, federal officials seized and shut down Backpage and affiliated websites.

Ferrer then traveled to Sacramento where he pleaded guilty to money laundering once more and was released on bond. The state attorney general's office, which is prosecuting the case, alleges that Backpage's operators illegally funneled almost $45 million through multiple companies and created websites to get around banks that refused to process their transactions.

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The statement did not state, however, where the pleas were entered or if they were entered in Texas.

The Dutch-owned company is incorporated in DE, but its principal place of business is in Dallas.

Ferrer, along with Lacey and Larkin, had faced criminal charges for conspiracy to pimp and other related counts in California.

President Trump yesterday signed the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017 into law, making it easier for law enforcement to take legal action against any websites that enable human trafficking.

SESTA aims to halt sex trafficking, particularly of children, by restricting what kind of information can be posted on websites like Backpage, where people often advertise sexual services.

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