Internet Escort Services Firms Charged with Money Laundering Plead Guilty in Federal Court
The United States Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Philadelphia-based corporations, R.S. Duffy, Inc. and National A-1 Advertising, Inc., pleaded guilty today in federal court in Williamsport before United States District Court Judge Christopher C. Conner.
Pursuant to a plea agreement with the Government National A-1 Advertising and R.S. Duffy pleaded guilty to the money laundering conspiracy charge in the Information, will serve a probation term of 18 months, and pay a $1,500,000 fine. In addition, under the terms of the plea agreement, the defendants agreed to the criminal forfeiture of $4.9 million in cash derived from the unlawful activity, as well as forfeiture of the domain name, Escorts.com, all of which represent property used to facilitate the commission of the offenses.
Sentencing has been scheduled for March 1, 2012.
According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, on November 1, 2011, an Information was filed in Williamsport, alleging that the corporate defendants operated an Internet enterprise called Escorts.com which facilitated interstate prostitution activities. The defendants developed and operated an Internet web site, using the domain name Escorts.com, and created an on-line network for prostitutes, escort services, and others to advertise their illegal activities to consumers and users of those services.
The defendants received subscription fees and payments in the form of money orders, checks, and credit card credits, and wire transfers from users of Escorts.com throughout the nation. The funds the defendants received were the proceeds of violations of federal laws prohibiting interstate travel in aid of racketeering enterprises, specifically prostitution, and aiding and abetting such travel.
The money laundering conspiracy charge alleged that the defendants agreed to engage in monetary transactions in property of a value greater than $10,000 derived from those unlawful activities. In addition, the Information alleged that in connection with the operation of Escorts.com, the defendants created and maintained a network of Internet customer service accounts which facilitated and caused the transfer and movement of the proceeds of these unlawful activities from locations throughout the United States, including the Middle District of Pennsylvania, to the defendants' business operations at 106 South 7th Street in Philadelphia and to the defendants' accounts at financial institutions, investment funds, and financial services providers.
The case was investigated by the Pennsylvania State Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations. Prosecution of this matter is assigned to Assistant United States Attorneys George J. Rocktashel, James T. Clancy and Amy Phillips.
Mr. Smith noted that assistance was provided by the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Cybercrimes and Forfeiture Units, and the Philadelphia Police Department.
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