SAN FRANCISCO — The two operators of MyRedBook.com and SFRedBook.com — the pair of escort websites that were seized by federal authorities in June — have both plead guilty to charges of facilitating prostitution over the Internet.
The guilty pleas represent the first two federal convictions for online operators who knowingly allowed prostitution over the Internet.
The website operators, Eric Omuro of Mountain View, Calif., and Annmarie Lanoce of Rocklin, Calif., both will be sentenced in late March at separate hearings.
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."
As part of the plea agreement, Omuro agreed to the forfeiture of the domain names MyRedBook.com and SFRedBook.com and more than $1.28 million in cash and property as proceeds and other property.
Twenty-four counts of money laundering were dropped against Omuro as part of the deal.
Both operators could face five years a piece for violating 18 U.S.C. § 1952(a)(3)(A) and (b)(I)(1) — interstate and foreign travel in aid of racketeering enterprise — as well as 18 U.S.C. § 2 — aiding and abetting -- in violation of California Penal Code § 647(b).
The sites, prior to their seizures by the Justice Department and IRS, purportedly were used by more than 10,000 sex workers prior to June when the sites were taken off the Internet.