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Escort Website CEO Charged with Promoting Prostitution Donated to Obama

President Obama
AP
• August 26, 2015 10:45 am

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The CEO of Rentboy.com, who was arrested by federal authorities Tuesday for allegedly promoting prostitution, donated to Barack Obama’s first campaign for president.

Jeffrey Hurant and six other employees of Rentboy.com were arrested and charged in Brooklyn, New York, Tuesday with conspiring to violate the Travel Act by promoting prostitution. The Department of Justice labeled the business the "largest online male escort service."

Founded in 1997, Rentboy.com hosts thousands of paid advertisements that are allegedly for companionship, not sexual services. The site’s terms of service bars users from exchanging money for sex.

However, according to the criminal complaint, the website advertised paid profiles of escorts and their fees. Escorts pay RentBoy.com upwards of $60 per month to advertise their profiles on the website.

The company has generated more than $10 million in sales since 2010.

According to data from the Federal Election Commission, Hurant gave $250 to then-Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign for president in 2008, his only political contribution. He listed his employer as EasyRent Systems Inc., which according to CBS New York is the fake name posted outside the Rentboy.com headquarters on 14th Street at Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.

Hurant appeared in Federal District Court in Brooklyn on Tuesday alongside the other accused employees. If convicted, each defendant faces up to five years in prison in addition to a fine as much as $250,000.

"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," Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Kelly T. Currie said of the arrests.

Hurant defended himself outside of the courtroom Tuesday, insisting that the website "bring[s] good people together," according to the New York Times.

"I don’t think we do anything to promote prostitution. I think we do good things for good people, and bring good people together," he said.

Published under: Barack Obama