Breaking news from New York City’s NBC affiliate:
Federal agents raided the Manhattan headquarters of RentBoy.com as part of a money laundering and state prostitution investigation Tuesday, law enforcement sources tell NBC 4 New York. Seven people, including a high-ranking executive, were arrested as part of the RentBoy.com raid at the offices on 14th Street and Fifth Avenue, the sources said. Department of Homeland Security agents and members of the NYPD, which assisted in the raid, were seen removing boxes from the offices Tuesday. Millions of dollars in numerous bank accounts have been seized in connection with the probe. The Department of Homeland Security was involved in the raid in part because the investigation involves transferring money across state lines
The website has been taken down at this writing. (Tipped by JMG reader Mick)
UPDATE: More from ABC News.
Authorities said the site operated as a male prostitution ring, cutting out the middle man. The complaint said that Rentboy.com, founded in 1997, hosted thousands of paid advertisements. Despite disclaimers that the ads were not for sexual services, Rentboy.com is designed for advertising illegal prostitution, the complaint said. Men would pay a fee and post their information on site, and those interested would go directly to the site and contact the poster. The site charges subscribers a minimum monthly fee of $59.95 and up to several hundred dollars to advertise. The complaint said that between 2010 and 2015, Rentboy.com grossed more than $10 million. “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,” said acting U.S. Attorney Kelly Currie. The company has more than 20,000 followers on Twitter.