Backpage co-founder likely to get out of jail

Backpage co-founder likely to get out of jail

The Texas and California attorneys general worked together to find evidence that adult and child sex trafficking victims were forced into prostitution, Breitbart Texas reported.

Attorney General Ken Paxton announced Thursday that the prosecution of Backpage.com has resulted in the company pleading guilty to human trafficking in Texas. In 2015, the indictment said, credit card companies stopped processing payments for Backpage.com and closed the site's bank accounts out of "concern they were being used for illegal purposes".

"Taking down Backpage and obtaining a criminal conviction for the company and its CEO represents a significant victory in the fight against human trafficking in Texas and around the world", Attorney General Paxton said.

Ferrer plead guilty pleas in both Sacramento County Superior Court and US District Court in Arizona.

And a federal judge in Phoenix unsealed an April 5 plea deal revealing that Ferrer pleaded guilty to conspiracy, and Backpage.com pleaded guilty to money laundering conspiracy.

Last year, Lacey, Larkin, and website's chief executive, Carl Ferrer, were acquitted of pimping conspiracy charges by a judge in California, who ruled that the site was protected under laws for sites publishing content by third parties.

Law enforcement agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department, seized Backpage's servers last week after the DOJ found the site took "consistent and concerted actions" to intentionally allow ads for illegal sex work, The Washington Post reported. He said Ferrer's cooperation in the ongoing investigation into Dallas-based Backpage "could lead to other criminal charges" being filed against the company's associates. On Oct. 6, 2016, the CEO of Backpage.com was arrested at Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport after arriving on a flight from Amsterdam.

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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.

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.

Ferrer also agreed to make the company's data available to law enforcement.

The company founders were among Backpage officials indicted by a federal grand jury in Arizona. Lacey, Larkin and the others were arrested after the Justice Department seized Backpage.com and all its affiliated websites Friday.

Ferrer further admitted that he conspired with other Backpage principals to find ways to knowingly facilitate the state-law prostitution crimes being committed by Backpage's customers.

The site was the dominant hub for sex workers to advertise their services, and it had come under increasing scrutiny in recent years as the United States government made efforts to crack down on sex trafficking with legislation like the Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act (SESTA), which President Trump signed this week.

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