Myredbook.com Owners Indicted for Using Website to Promote Prostitution and Money Laundering (18 United States Code 1952)

40-year-old wife and 53-year-old husband (name withheld in order to protect the privacy of the accused) have been accused of having been behind 2 different websites (myredbook.com and sfredbook.com) serving the Bay Area, Sacramento, and other parts of the West Coast that promotes prostitution.  Both claim that their sites do not offer the services of prostitutes or other similar amenities like escorts, but only post reviews for escorts, massage therapists, and strip clubs.  Yet, the feds insist that there were actual (and detailed) advertisements for prostitutes on both sites.  The 2 have been indicted for using the Internet to promote prostitution and for money laundering.

It is a federal crime to manage or promote the practice of prostitution in the United States, even over an Internet site.  One obvious exception is in Nevada, where prostitution is legal in some instances; Rhode Island law also once contained a loophole whereby prostitution that occurred indoors was legal.  The actual letter of the law includes this practice under 18 United States Code 1952, “Interstate and foreign travel or transportation in aid of racketeering enterprises.”  This law states that anyone using the Internet (or mail, etc.) to “promote, manage, establish, carry on, or facilitate the promotion, management, establishment, or carrying on of” criminal activity (like that of gambling and prostitution) could spend up to 20 years in federal prison and be subject to hefty fines.  Both defendants have entered pleas of “not guilty” in the case against them, maintaining that their sites do not facilitate prostitution in any way, but serve as a kind of “Angie’s List” for sexual services along the West Coast.