- The Magazine
Jeffrey Hurant, the former CEO of Rentboy.com, has been indicted on charges of promoting prostitution and money laundering.
The company’s headquarters were raided by federal authorities in August last year, with Hurant and six other employees arrested. Reuters reports that a federal grand jury in Brooklyn added money laundering charges onto the original charges against Hurant, though the indictment did not mention the other six employees.
The indictment — which also names Easy Rent Systems Inc., Rentboy.com’s business name, as a defendant — claims that Rentboy.com actively promoted prostitution, despite disclaimers on the site that it was for those seeking escorts for companionship. It also alleges that Rentboy.com offered discounts to escort agencies to advertise and that it did not check the ages of escorts on the site — legally required to be 18 or over.
Michael Tremonte, Hurant’s attorney, told Reuters that he expects “full vindication at trial.”
“The government’s charges against Mr. Hurant are unwarranted,” he said. “He ran his business openly for nearly 20 years, and it makes no sense to single him out for criminal prosecution.”
“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,” Acting U.S. Attorney Kelly T. Currie said in an official statement at the time of the August raid.
Following the raid, we spoke with a Rentboy.com escort about his work. He told Metro Weekly that it was time for the government to legalize sex work.
“Why can’t I just give you $400, have sex with you, and that could help you with your life,” he said. “If they’re willing and consenting, what’s the difference?”
These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and MetroWeekly.com remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!