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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Largest Online Male Escort Service Raided

Rentboy.com CEO and Six Current and Former Employees Arrested

A criminal complaint was unsealed today in federal court in Brooklyn charging the CEO of Rentboy.com, Jeffrey Hurant, and six Rentboy.com employees with conspiring to violate the Travel Act by promoting prostitution.  The defendants were arrested this morning and are scheduled to appear before United States Magistrate Judge Marilyn Go at the United States Courthouse, 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, New York.

The charges were announced by Kelly T. Currie, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Glenn Sorge, Acting Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), New York; and William J. Bratton, Commissioner, New York City Police Department.

As alleged in the complaint, Rentboy.com is a male escort advertising site  founded in 1997 which hosts thousands of paid advertisements.  While the site has disclaimers stating that the advertisements are for companionship and not sexual services, Rentboy.com is designed primarily for advertising illegal prostitution.  The website charges subscribers a  minimum monthly fee of $59.95 and up to several hundred dollars to advertise sexual services.  Once the fee is paid, subscribers can select from a number of categories created by Rentboy.com the sexual services they are willing to perform and the price charged.  Subscribers can also include their physical descriptions and provide links to another website where their sexual services are rated by prior customers.  Between 2010 and 2015, Rentboy.com had over $10 million in gross proceeds.

“As alleged, Rentboy.com attempted to present a veneer of legality, when in fact this internet brothel made millions of dollars from the promotion of illegal prostitution,” stated Acting United States Attorney Currie.  Mr. Currie thanked the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Field Office in New York for their assistance in the investigation.

HSI Acting Special Agent in Charge Sorge stated, “The facilitation and promotion of prostitution offenses across state lines and international borders is a federal crime made even more egregious when it’s blatantly advertised by a global criminal enterprise,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Sorge of HSI New York.  “HSI will use its unique authorities to disrupt and dismantle such organizations and seize the millions of dollars in illegal proceeds they generate.”

“As alleged, Rentboy.com profited from the promotion of prostitution despite their claim that their advertisements were not for sexual services.  Thanks to the detectives, agents, and prosecutors of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District involved in this investigation, these individuals will be held accountable for running this racket,” said Police Commissioner Bratton.

In addition, earlier today the government served warrants authorizing the seizure of over $1.4 million of alleged criminal proceeds from six bank accounts.  The government also took steps to restrain the domain name www.rentboy.com.

The charges in the complaint are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.  If convicted each defendant faces up to five years imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000.

The government’s case is being prosecuted by the Office’s International Narcotics and Money Laundering Section.  Assistant United States Attorneys Tyler Smith and Melanie Hendry are in charge of the prosecution.

The Defendants:

JEFFREY HURANT
Age:  50
New York, NY

MICHAEL SEAN BELMAN
 Age:  47
New York, NY

CLINT CALERO
 Age:  48
New York, NY

EDWARD LORENZ ESTANOL
 Age:  23
New York, NY

SHANE LUKAS
 Age:  41
New York, NY

DIANA MILAGROS MATTOS
 Age:  43
Queens, NY

MARCO SOTO DECKER
 Age:  28
New York, NY

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 15-MJ-780

Topic: 
Human Trafficking
Updated February 4, 2016