NEW YORK — Federal agents today raided the Manhattan headquarters of RentBoy.com after a criminal complaint was unsealed, alleging the male escort service’s CEO and six employees conspired to violate the Travel Act by promoting prostitution.
RentBoy CEO Jeffrey Hurant and six employees were arrested this morning and are scheduled to appear today before a magistrate judge in Brooklyn.
The Travel Act makes it a federal offense to travel from state to state, or internationally, with the intent to promote or facilitate an unlawful activity.
RentBoy’s offices on 14th Street and Fifth Avenue were raided by scores of law enforcement officers, including those from the Department of Homeland Security and NYPD. Officers were seen on PIX 11 News removing boxes from the offices this morning.
Billing itself as “the world’s destination to meet the perfect male escort or masseur,” RentBoy.com has been in operation since 1996 and includes 10,500 members in 2,100 cities worldwide, according to the company’s website.
Millions of dollars in numerous bank accounts have been seized in connection with the probe and federal authorities are certain to seize the site, according to a report.
Industry attorneys Lawrence Walters and Gill Sperlein both represent RentBoy. Walters told XBIZ this morning that their ability to comment on the raid and subsquent arrests is restricted.
“I can say that the charges come as a complete surprise to the company, but we have seen state and federal authorities seeking to impose increasing blame on advertising networks, which play a passive role in the advertising process,” Walters told XBIZ. “Until additional information is made available about the basis for the charges, we will be unable to comment further.”