NEW YORK — Rentboy.com founder and CEO Jeffrey Hurant has been indicted on charges of money laundering and promoting prostitution.
On Aug. 25, the NYPD raided the Manhattan offices of RentBoy.com, alleging the gay escort site had engaged in illegal interstate commerce during its nearly 20 years of operation.
Hurant and six others were arrested, and the company's bank accounts were frozen, causing an outcry from civil rights organizations and sex trade activists.
While six of the seven suspects had apparently reached plea deal agreements with prosecutors, Hurant did not.
"The government's charges against Mr. Hurant are unwarranted," said Michael Tremonte, Hurant's lawyer. "He ran his business openly for nearly 20 years, and it makes no sense to single him out for criminal prosecution. Mr. Hurant plans to contest the charges and looks forward to full vindication at trial."
The three-count indictment handed down by a federal grand jury in Brooklyn, New York, seeks forfeiture of over $1.5 million seized from the W. 14th St. office, as well as from bank and brokerage accounts.
Among the new allegations introduced by the indictment, Rentboy is accused of offering advertising discounts to escort agencies, without proper age verification, in violation of policies prohibiting escorts under the age of 18.
They are also accused of taking ads from a Florida escort agency run by three men indicted for racketeering and running a Hungarian sex slave ring.
Contributions to the Rentboy defense fund can be made at RentboyFund.org.