NEW YORK — Criminal charges have been dropped against six employees of Rentboy.com.
On Friday, a magistrate judge, acting on a motion from prosecutors, dismissed complaints against Michael Belman, Clint Calero, Diana Mattos, Marco Decker, Edward Estanol and Shane Lukas. The motions were entered today.
Gay rights activist William Dobbs, who has been following the case, told XBIZ that the dismissal of charges is “good news for six of the defendants.”
“Let’s hope the U.S. Attorney's Office ends this much-criticized case by dismissing charges against the remaining defendant, Jeffrey Hurant,” Dobbs said.
Hurant, the owner of Rentboy, pleaded not guilty last week to an indictment charging him alone with promoting prostitution and money laundering.
According to federal prosecutors, Hurant is engaged in a plea deal.
A federal grand jury indicted Hurant last month on two counts of using his parent company Easy Rent Systems as a front to promote prostitution and to launder money.
Hurant was released on a $350,000 bond after his August arrest and has defended his online hookup operation as perfectly legal.
Before authorities shut the website and offices down, Rentboy.com garnered about 500,000 unique visitors each day, according to an indictment.
Prosecutors said the website Hurant founded in 1997 took in at least $10 million in annual revenue.