David Elms, of Torrance, Calif., was arrested Sunday after an interview by officers from the Phoenix Police Department's Special Assignments Unit.
Police said they got the tip from a suspect in an ongoing probe over DesertDivas.net, which allegedly operated a prostitution ring servicing about 6,500 clients.
Phoenix police said that Elms was seeking to contract out a hit to have a 32-year-old woman killed, as well as a 62-year-old male victim seriously injured.
That 32-year-old woman was identified by adult industry attorney Michael Fattorosi of Fattorosi & Associates as an online adult model and escort he represents in a federal suit in Los Angeles over cybersquatting claims.
The Long Beach, Calif., model, named as a Jane Doe in the suit, said she fears for her life because her home address was allegedly published on TheEroticReview.com.
Fattorosi told XBIZ he was satisfied that Elms was arrested.
“I’m pleased David Elms has been brought up on charges,” Fattorosi said. “He has victimized and terrorized numerous women in the adult entertainment industry.”
Fattorosi identified the 62-year-old victim as "Dave in Phoenix," operator of the website SexWork.com.
SexWork.com has been known to attack Elms and TheEroticReview.com in its editorial content.
The owner posted a message on the site that reads: "I am not going to go into details at this time since I am working with the Phoenix Police major crimes unit and with police protection considerations."
On Tuesday, XBIZ obtained booking information relative to the Elms arrest, including how he allegedly wanted to knock off the model and seriously hurt the website owner.
According to detectives, a tape-recorded phone call was made from an informant to Elms, who agreed to drive to Phoenix and hire subjects to commit a murder and purchase a firearm.
“On Feb. 15, the defendant arrived in Phoenix and met with undercover detectives and arranged for the assault on one victim, which involved breaking his legs,” police records said. “The second victim was a female who was to be either murdered or assaulted depending on the outcome of their court case.
“Defendant agreed to pay $3,000 for the assault and also paid $500 for the purchase of one-half ounce of cocaine. Defendant also wanted to purchase a Walther 22 handgun from either the informant or undercover detectives."
Police said that Elms is currently on probation in California for drug possession and is prohibited from leaving the state.
They also said Elms' vehicle was searched and a glass pipe used to smoke crack cocaine was recovered.
“Defendant was interviewed and admitted he was on probation, was there to purchase a firearm and crack cocaine from undercover detectives, which he thought were actual suspects," police said. "As for the glass pipe, the defendant denied that it was his but admitted his fingerprints would be recovered from this item. The defendant also admitted that he ordered the assault of one of the victims but denied the murder conspiracy.”
In her civil complaint filed last year, Doe not only makes infringement claims but also includes charges of defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress, because Elms allegedly used the model's real birth name in a domain name.
The complaint alleges that “Elms directed his anger and vengeance at Doe because she refused to engage in sexual intercourse with him and because Doe refused to allow her name to be published on a website he controls.”
Doe, who owns a members-only subscription website through her Kentucky-based company BFN LLC, said that she learned of Elms’ website, which uses her real birth name and images of her, in March.
Elms also is accused of sending a letter to Doe’s family and friends, informing them that she is a prostitute. As a result, she said, her immediate family has severed all ties with her.
“Elms embarked upon a crusade to ruin Doe’s life, in order to get back at her for her refusal to have sexual intercourse with him,” the suit said.
In the Phoenix arrest, Elms was booked into Maricopa County Jail for one count of conspiracy to commit murder, one count of conspiracy to commit aggravated assault, one count of conspiracy to possess narcotic drugs for sale, one count of conspiracy to commit misconduct involving weapons and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia.
Elms’ Phoenix arrest is not the first brush with the law.
The New York Times reported last year that a deputy New York district attorney said Elms was criminally charged after a night in 2006 when police were called to a hotel where they found him with 3.8 grams of cocaine and a loaded semi-automatic weapon.
A prostitute was there and said Elms had forced her to perform oral sex at gunpoint, but there was not enough evidence to press charges on that accusation, the deputy district attorney told the Times.
Phoenix police said that the defunct DesertDivas.net based in Phoenix, also known as Night Partners Entertainment, had organizational ties to Philadelphia and Albuquerque, N.M.
Police investigated the group for a year before serving nine search warrants Aug. 5. Since then, 38 people have been arrested in connection with the Phoenix branch of the organization.
Elms' TheEroticReview.com hosts escort reviews, site reviews, discussion boards and live chat. Visitors rank their experiences with prostitutes on a scale of 1 to 10, as well as to leave comments. It reportedly gets 500,000 to 1 million unique visitors each month.