The chief executive officer (CEO) of Backpage.com, a classified advertising website that launched in 2004, recently pleaded guilty to state and federal money laundering and conspiracy charges. If found guilty of these offenses, he faces a lengthy prison sentence and large fines.
Are you facing charges for money laundering? If so, your future may be at stake. This makes it crucial to contact an experienced Los Angeles fraud attorney or staff member at Spolin Law P.C.. Call us at (310) 424-5816 today, or reach out through our online form to protect your rights and freedom.
What is Backpage?
When classified advertising in newspapers began to decrease in popularity and websites such as Craigslist became the go-to for classified ads, Backpage hit the internet. This website featured a variety of categories typically found in newspaper classified sections. It also contained an adult section with subcategories for sex work professions. There has been a great deal of controversy regarding this portion of the site. Many individuals believe it was used to promote underage sex trafficking and contributed to the rise of prostitution.
The Story Behind the Backpage CEO’s Money Laundering Charges
Since Backpage’s inception, the site brought in a half-billion dollars through risqué advertising for escorts and massages, as well as other services and goods. According to authorities, the site was created to traffic underage victims. The CEO of Backpage, Carl Ferrer, stated that they attempted to remove these ads from the site.
In April 2018, Ferrer pleaded guilty to state and federal charges including three counts of money laundering and one count of conspiracy. The U.S. Justice Department shut down the website, and Ferrer agreed to testify in ongoing prosecutions against others at Backpage.
Ferrer could spend up to five years in prison and pay $250,000 in fines in the federal case in Arizona. Backpage could face a fine of $500,000 because of its money laundering and conspiracy plea in the Arizona case.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra explained that human trafficking is modern-day slavery, and that the shutdown of Backpage is a victory for survivors. He hopes that Ferrer’s conviction will help combat human trafficking across the world.
Money Laundering Defined
The practice of engaging in a financial transaction in order to conceal the amount, source, or identity of the money received is known as money laundering. Often, money laundering charges accompany selling stolen goods, tax evasion, drug trafficking, or other serious charges.
Since both state and federal laws prohibit money laundering, pleading guilty to a money laundering charge comes with serious consequences that can change your life forever. Therefore, if you are being investigated for a money laundering crime, it is in your best interest to seek legal representation immediately.
Contact an Experienced Los Angeles Fraud Attorney at Spolin Law P.C.
If you’re facing money laundering charges, Spolin Law P.C. can help. We will thoroughly investigate your case and design a strong defense strategy that can improve your situation and aid your future. Call (310) 424-5816, or reach out online to speak to a Los Angeles fraud attorney or staff member at our firm today.