Seven Arrested as Federal Agents Take Down ‘RentBoy.com’ Escort Service

On Tuesday, federal agents raided the Manhattan offices of RentBoy.com as part of a prostitution and money laundering investigation, authorities reported.

RentBoy.com CEO Jeffrey Hurant and six others were arrested after members of the NYPD, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Department of Homeland Security, and the FBI raided the website’s offices on 14th Street and Fifth Avenue.

The website, which billed itself as “the world’s destination to meet the perfect male escort or masseur,” had a database of over 10,500 men in 2,100 cities across the world.

Founded in 1997, the site featured tools to find a “rent-a-boy” by country, city, age, and “talents,” as well as physical features and race. The site also proclaimed that it was the “world’s largest male escort site.”

The owners of the site reported proceeds of $10 million between 2010 and 2015.

While the website had disclaimers that the “boys” were only for friendship, the feds charged that the site was really a clearing house for male prostitution.

“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 as reported by NBC New York.

“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 separate statement.

Officials also seized $1.4 million from six separate bank accounts in the raid.

The owners of the site, though, are loudly proclaiming their innocence.

“I don’t think that we do anything to promote prostitution,” site CEO Hurant said. “I think we do good things for good people, and we bring good people together.”

Among other offenses, the seven were charged with conspiring to violate the Travel Act by promoting prostitution. Upon conviction, they could get up to five years in prison and be fined up to $250,000 each.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston, or email the author at igcolonel@hotmail.com.


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