DEVELOPING: RENTBOY.COM CEO ARRESTED, OFFICES RAIDED
Federal agents raided the NYC offices of escort site Rentboy.com, arresting the CEO Jeffrey Hurant and six other employees on suspicion of “conspiring to promote prostitution under the guise of offering ‘companionship’ from its escorts” according to officials.
Rentboy is one of the largest of a number of gay high-profile online escort sites, having been in business since 1997 and boasting 10,500 members worldwide according to their website. Since 2006, they’ve hosted the Hookie Awards and also throw a notorious “sex cabaret and dance party” known as the Hustlaball in New York, Vegas, and Berlin.
The site is “a global criminal enterprise” according to Glenn Sorge, Acting Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigation. NYPD Commissioner William Bratton called the site “a racket” in a release announcing the charges earlier this morning. The site is currently off-line.
According to NBC New York, Feds seized more than $1.4 million from six bank accounts in connection with the probe. In addition to CEO Hurant, Michael Sean Belman, Clint Calero, Edward Lorenz Estanol, Shane Lukas, Diana Milagros Mattos, and Marco Soto Decker were the other employees arrested. If convicted, they face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Prosecutors said the site has 2,500 subscribers and generated over $10 million in revenue between 2010 and 2015.
Footage of agents removing several boxes from Rentboy’s Union Square, NY, office was released this morning as well:
(video via PIX11)
Should escorts/masseuses who’ve used the site be concerned? This remains unclear. We’ll be posting more details as they become available. If you hear anything, please let us know.