Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Backpage Owner Pleads Guilty, Agree to Permanent Injunction Shutting Down

Case against 2 co conspirators continues in Sacramento


April 13, 2018

Carl Ferrer, Michael Lacey, James Larkin (Sacramento County Sheriff's Office via the Sacramento County Sheriff's Office

California Attorney General's office today announced that defendant Carl Ferrer, Chief Executive Officer of online sex advertising website, has pled guilty to one charge of conspiracy and three counts of money laundering.

The defendant entered the guilty plea in Sacramento County Superior Court, resolving charges against him in the criminal case People of the State of California v. Carl Ferrer, Michael Lacey, and James Larkin. This plea follows the permanent shutdown of announced on April 9.

Prosecutors have described as the world's largest online brothel, facilitating human trafficking throughout the world."

Ferrer will cooperate in the prosecution of two controlling shareholders of the website, Michael Lacey and James Larkin. The case against alleged co-conspirators, Lacey and Larkin, continues in Sacramento County Superior Court.

Formerly a great place to err, meet people, has been seized by authorities for child trafficking

Backpage was a classified advertising website launched in 2004. It offered classified listings for a wide variety of products and services including automotive, jobs listings, and real estate. In 2011, Backpage was the second largest classified ad listing service on the Internet in the United States after Craigslist.

The site's offering of adult services sections was highly controversial, due to allegations that Backpage knowingly allowed and encouraged users to post ads related to prostitution and human trafficking, particularly involving minors, and took steps to intentionally obfuscate the activities. After a series of court cases and the arrest of the company's CEO and other officials, Backpage removed the adult services subsection in the United States in 2017.

On April 6, 2018, Backpage was seized by the United States Department of Justice.


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