Backpage.com CEO Carl Ferrer, left, former owner James Larkin, former owner Michael Lacey and COO Andrew Padilla, in Sacramento Superior Court on October 12, 2016.
Sacramento Bee—TNS via Getty Images
By Jacques Billeaud / AP
April 9, 2018

PHOENIX (AP) — The founders of Backpage.com and five others at the classified site have been indicted on federal charges in what authorities say was a scheme to facilitate prostitution by running ads for sexual services and hiding their revenues.

An indictment unsealed Monday alleges that Backpage.com on some occasions had helped customers edit their ads so they would stay within legal limits while still encouraging commercial sex.

Website founders Michael Lacey and James Larkin are charged with facilitating prostitution and money laundering.

Authorities also have seized Backpage.com and its affiliated websites.

They are already facing state money laundering charges in California.

Larry Kazan, who represents Lacey, didn’t return a call seeking comment. There is no listing for Larkin’s attorney.

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