Federal agents raided the Manhattan headquarters of RentBoy.com on Tuesday as part of a money laundering and state prostitution investigation Tuesday, law enforcement sources told NBC 4 New York.
Seven people, including CEO Jeffrey Hurant, were arrested as part of the RentBoy.com raid at the offices on 14th Street and Fifth Avenue, conducted by Department of Homeland Security agents and members of the NYPD.[contextly_sidebar id=”zlQpwJ8Bar1q9Uw7uZa8x8dnavnuzJSn”]
More than $1.4 million from six bank accounts connected to the site was seized in connection with the probe, and the government had shut down the website on Tuesday.
Rentboy.com advertises itself as “the world’s destination to meet the perfect male escort or masseur,” and boasts a database of more than 10,500 men in more than 2,100 cities worldwide.
Escorts pay the site up to several hundred dollars to advertise their ‘services’ and customers pay a monthly subscription fee of $59.95, according to the criminal complaint. Founded in 1997, Rentboy is the first and largest website to focus on male escorts and their Twitter page says, “Money can’t buy you love but everything else is negotiable.”[contextly_sidebar id=”tj3fmbybspONky4r4OQxrrfZvNPuVZ2v”]
Between 2010 and 2015, the website had more than $10 million in gross proceeds according to NBCNY.
“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,” Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Kelly Currie said in a statement.[contextly_sidebar id=”BqIJejWnfapBENzU0qmMXOf196KzZRAv”]
“The facilitation and promotion of prostitution offenses across state lines and international borders is a federal crime made even more egregious when it’s blatantly advertised by a global criminal enterprise,” Glenn Sorge, acting special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in New York, said in a statement.
The seven defendants have been charged with conspiring to violate the Travel Act by promotion prostitution.[contextly_sidebar id=”jjUNmNHXwAqEEXxeGzjCZuWay8POjLoV”]