Millions Forfeited From Online Prostitution Enterprise Distributed To State And Local Law Enforcement
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that more than $3 million has been presented to the Pennsylvania State Police and the Lycoming County District Attorney’s Office as their share of a forfeiture of $4.9 million in a federal criminal case.
According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, during the past week the U.S. Department of Justice has begun distributing $3.2 million to the Pennsylvania State Police and $49,000 to the Lycoming County District Attorney’s Office for their contributions to the investigation and prosecution of R.S. Duffy, Inc. and National A-1 Advertising, Inc.
In November 2011, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Harrisburg charged Philadelphia-based corporations, R.S. Duffy, Inc. and National A-1 Advertising, Inc. with operating an internet enterprise called Escorts.com which facilitated interstate prostitution activities in violation of federal law. The corporate 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.
Pursuant to a plea agreement reached with the Government, National A-1 Advertising and R.S. Duffy pleaded guilty to a money laundering conspiracy charge. 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 represented property used to facilitate the commission of the offenses. A major part of the investigation was conducted with the Pennsylvania State Police.
The case was before U.S. District Court Judge Christopher C. Conner.
The $4.9 million forfeited in the R.S. Duffy, Inc. and National A-1 Advertising, Inc. case was distributed as part of the Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture Program. The Program is a nationwide law enforcement program administered by the Department of Justice, the primary goals of which are (1) to punish and deter criminal activity by depriving criminals of property used or acquired through illegal activities and (2) to enhance cooperation among federal, state and local law enforcement agencies through the equitable sharing of the assets recovered. Any law enforcement agency that directly participates in an investigation that results in a federal forfeiture may request an equitable share of the net proceeds. Sharing requests are reviewed and approved by the Department of Justice in Washington based on a consideration of the extent of participation of the requesting agency in the particular case.
U.S. Attorney Smith noted that the Pennsylvania State Police are the frontline as well as the backbone of law enforcement throughout the state and particularly in the 33 counties that comprise the federal middle district. “The state police are true partners with federal law enforcement. We appreciate their help and diligent efforts on behalf of the citizens of Pennsylvania.”
The case against R. S Duffy, Inc. and National A-1 Advertising, Inc. that led to the forfeiture to the United States of these assets was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney George J. Rocktashel. Assistant U.S. Attorney and Chief of the Office’s Victim Rights and Asset Recovery Unit James T. Clancy and Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy C. Phillips handled the forfeiture.