The website CityXGuide — a leading supply of online ads for prostitution and intercourse trafficking that users described as “taking over from where Backpage left down” — is seized and its particular owner charged in a 28-count federal indictment, established United States Attorney when it comes to Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox.

Wilhan Martono, 46, had been indicted on June 2 using one count of advertising of prostitution and careless neglect of intercourse trafficking, one count of interstate racketeering conspiracy (facilitating prostitution), nine counts of interstate transportation in aid of racketeering (facilitating prostitution), and 17 counts of cash laundering. He had been arrested on 17 in Fremont, California by Homeland Security Investigations and the United States Secret Service june

Soon after the defendant’s arrest, CityXGuide ended up being changed with a squeeze page notifying users that the internet site was in fact seized by the U.S. Department of Homeland safety pursuant to a warrant.

In accordance with the indictment, Mr. Martono presumably netted significantly more than $21 million off a suite of illicit internet sites promoting prostitution and intercourse trafficking. He presumably registered the names of domain for a number of associated with the internet web web sites only one time following the FBI power down Backpage, then your internet’s leading supply of prostitution and intercourse trafficking ads.

Despite Terms of good use purportedly forbidding the ad of unlawful sexual solutions, CityXGuide as well as its affiliated websites (Backpage.co, CAPleasures, and BodyRubShop, and others) allegedly allowed brothels, pimps, and prostitutes to publish thousands and thousands of adverts for sexual services, which users could then filter by geography and choice.

In communication with Mr. Martono, one of is own CityXGuide advertisers noted that the web site ended up being “taking over from where Backpage left down.”

CityXGuide as well as its friend websites allegedly allowed advertisers to pick from a list that is pre-populated of tasks,” then add nude photographs, information, work hours, types of re payment, and email address for the females being whatsyourprice promoted. The websites offered paid “upgrades,” which could be purchased in Bitcoin or in exchange for gift cards from Walmart, Best Buy, Lowe’s, Amazon, and other retailers in order to secure premium placement. Mr. Martono presumably used CardCash, a party that is third card reseller, to switch these present cards for U.S. money.

Mr. Martono allegedly took actions to conceal their online activity by routing website traffic through an internet protocol address in European countries, utilizing a VPN to mask their ip while performing CardCash deals, and funneling their proceeds through a system of company and bank that is personal. (during the time of Mr. Martono’s arrest, the Department of Homeland safety seized huge amount of money from records managed by Mr. Martono.)

CityXGuide, which served consumers around the world, included a listing of 14 “Favorite Cities,” including Dallas, l . a ., bay area, Vegas, Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, and Boston.

Police force has identified many small victims in CityXGuide ads, including a 13-year-old jane doe recovered in North Texas in November 2019.

“As soon as DOJ turn off one site that is despicable another popped around just just just take its destination,” said U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox. This defendant made millions facilitating the online exploitation of women and children“Like the owners of backpage. The Justice Department will maybe not sleep until these websites are eradicated and their owners held in charge of their crimes.”

“This situation is just a harsh reminder associated with ruthlessness of individual traffickers and lengths to that they get, including victimizing females and kids, to produce a revenue,” said Ryan L. Spradlin, Unique Agent in control of Homeland Security Investigations’ Dallas Field workplace. “HSI maintains its unwavering dedication to investigate these heinous crimes, rescue victims, and prosecute the offenders towards the fullest level associated with the law.”

“The Secret Service remains dedicated to investigating and pursuing those accountable for cyber-enabled crimes that are financial. Even though explosive expansion for the cyber domain has forced us to produce revolutionary methods for conducting these kind of investigations, our proven model remains the exact same,” stated Secret Service Special Agent responsible for the Dallas Field workplace William Smarr, incorporating, “This research is a wonderful illustration of a partnership between regional, state, and law that is federal agencies working together to effectively prosecute numerous violations of federal statutes. You will find real innocent victims due to these crimes. The trick Service also thanks the Northern District of Texas united states of america Attorney’s Office with regards to their support this is certainly aggressive.

“I’m proud of all of us whom, with your federal lovers, relentlessly pursued this research for over a 12 months. Today, we now have produced impact that is significant among the world’s biggest electronic marketplaces for prostitution and sex trafficking. We realize many everyday lives should be conserved through this joint work,” said Michael C. Miller, Chief of Police when it comes to Colleyville Police Department.

An indictment is only an allegation of unlawful conduct, maybe perhaps maybe not proof. As with any defendants, Mr. Martono is assumed innocent unless and until proven bad in a court of legislation.

If convicted, he faces as much as 25 years in federal jail.

Mr. Martono ended up being charged in component under FOSTA, a law passed away into the wake regarding the Backpage scandal in April 2018 that enables the government that is federal prosecute sites that facilitate intercourse trafficking.

The North Texas Trafficking Task Force carried out the research, led by Homeland Security Investigations’ Dallas Field workplace, the usa Secret provider, and also the Colleyville Police Department, with the assistance of HSI’s El Paso and San Jose Field workplaces plus the Texas Department of Public protection. Assistant usa Attorneys Sid Mody, Rebekah Ricketts, and John de los angeles Garza are prosecuting the situation.