Federal authorities have charged the two founders of classified site Backpage.com, along with five other employees, with laundering money and facilitating prostitution. According toThe Washington Post, the Justice Department claims Backpage took “consistent and concerted action” to knowingly allow ads for illegal sex work. The indictment alleges that “virtually every dollar flowing into Backpage’s coffers represents the proceeds of illegal activity.”
Law enforcement agencies seized Backpage’s servers last week, and co-founder Michael Lacey was charged in a sealed 93-count indictment, which has now been revealed. Lacey, as well as his co-founder James Larkin, were already charged with violating California money laundering laws, although a judge threw out state-level pimping charges.
These federal charges are unrelated to the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act, a controversial bill that would make website operators liable for illegal content posted to their sites. That bill is still awaiting Trump’s signature, although it’s already had an effect on other classified sites, leading Craigslist to pull its personal ads section.
Read the original article here: theverge.com
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