MyRedBook Case Continued to Sept. 25; Attorneys Picked

Rhett Pardon

SAN FRANCISCO — The two operators of and, the pair of escort websites that were seized by federal authorities in June, face their next court hearing in late September.

Eric Omuro of Mountain View, Calif., and Annmarie Lanoce of Rocklin, Calif. were charged with using the mail and the Internet to facilitate prostitution by a federal grand jury.

Omuro also was charged with 24 counts of money laundering. According to the indictment, Omuro engaged in more than 20 monetary transactions to launder profits derived from the facilitation of prostitution.

Omuro and Lanonce appeared at arraignment hearing on July 10, and, along with federal prosecutors, asked the court to continue the case until Sept. 25 so that all parties had more time to produce and review evidence in the case.

Omuro has tapped attorneys John Weston  and Nanci Clarence, while Lanoce has chosen lawyers Geoffrey Hansen and Brandon LeBlanc to defend her case.

The U.S. Attorney's Office has selected attorney Keith Becker of the Justice Department's Washington-based Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section to handle the government's case.

Both Lanonce and Omuro, who entered not guilty pleas to the charges at San Francisco federal court, are free on bond.

In particular, Omuro, who was charged with money laundering counts, is free on a $500,000 bond secured by his Mountain View, Calif., residence. He is free on several conditions, including that he be subject to electronic monitoring.

Federal prosecutors said that Omuro and Lanoce were complicit with prostitution involvement, listing acronyms for sex acts in a "Terms and Acronyms" section of the site and offering menus of sexual services, hourly and nightly rates and customer reviews.

Prosecutors also pointed to VIP memberships that allowed customers "access to 'private forums' and heightened capabilities to search reviews of the prostitution services."

Some 10,000 sex workers who relied on the sites were placed in financial turbulence in the short term, according to a leading authority on erotic service providers.

Maxine Doogan, who leads the nonprofit ESPLER — known formally as the Erotic Service Provider Legal, Educational and Research Project — told XBIZ earlier this month that MyRedBook, in particular, had more than 40,000 listings for erotic services when it was seized by the FBI and IRS.