The chief executive officer of Backpage.com, a portal for adult classified ads, was arrested yesterday on charges of pimping, pimping a minor under 16 years of age, and conspiracy to commit pimping, according to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle.
CEO Carl Ferrer was arrested in Houston, Texas, after arriving on a flight from Amsterdam. He was arrested on a California warrant, after a three-year investigation there determined that many of Backpage's adult ads included victims of sex trafficking and minors. Authorities have also issued warrants for the site's controlling shareholders, Michael Lacey and James Larkin.
Backpage.com is owned by a Dutch-based limited liability corporation, but its main place of business is in Dallas, Texas, according to the report. Last month the company told the U.S. Supreme Court, after being subpoenaed, that the Backpage.com itself is a victim, of an overreaching government that is not respecting First Amendment rights.
Ferrer now faces 22 years in prison. In a statement provided to the Chronicle, Ferrer's lawyer said the charges are "trumped up."