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Back CEO Carl Ferrer is facing extradition to California after appearing in a Texas court Friday on charges his company earned millions of dollars by promoting adult and child prostitution through escort advertisements run on the site. The court appearance came a day after Ferrer's arrest in Houston.
He had just returned from the Netherlands to the headquarters of his Dallas-based company, which officials said is the largest advertiser of adult escort services in the U. The arrest followed an investigation led by California Attorney General Kamala Harris and the California Department of Justice, which investigated the firm for three years using undercover agents who responded to escort and arranged meetings with people who had advertised on the site.
Ferrer and the two owners of Back, Michael Lacey and James Larkin, were charged in Sacramento Superior Court with conspiring to commit pimping through Back and two additional websites, Evil Empire and BigCity, according to court filings. Warrants have been issued for Lacey and Larkin, but they have not yet been arrested, Kristen Ford, a spokesperson for Harris's office, told the E-Commerce Times on Friday. The Back operation has created websites in local cities throughout the country, including more than 30 in California sinceaccording to Harris's office.
From January to March99 percent of the company's revenue came from escortbased on the California investigation.
Ferrer's arrest could be the beginning of the end for Back, suggested Rick Edmonds, media business analyst at the Poynter Institute. A big part of this story is the involvement of Lacey and Larkin, who were among the original founders of the Phoenix New Times and later founded Village Voice Media, Edmonds added.
Ferrer and Back have been subject to prior investigations into child sex trafficking. Back was cited for civil contempt after Ferrer failed to appear at a hearing last November of the U. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Attorney Steven Ross, who represented Back during the Senate hearings, was not immediately available for comment.
Get Permission to or Reproduce this Article. Reader Comments the discussion! I thought it was settled case law that publishers of paid advertising were NOT responsible for the content or accuracy of the material their advertisers promote.
If the New York Times prints a job classified and the advertiser is serial rapist who assaults job seekers, is the NYT liable for his actions? Not as the law now stands.
If an advertisement presented for publication promotes a product that is illegal in some or all jurisdictions for example, medical marijuana is the publisher criminally liable for suborning criminal activity by printing it? That has certainly not been the case ly.
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