An investigation into alleged money-laundering and prostitution culminated on Tuesday with a raid of the Manhattan offices of Rentboy.com by NYPD officers and agents working with the Department of Homeland Security. Among the seven people arrested as a result of the raid was Jeffrey Hurant, 50, the company’s owner and CEO.
New York-area news stations showed footage of agents taking away cardboard boxes from the business’s Fifth Avenue office. According to WNBC News, agents also froze more that $1.4 million in assets spread across six bank accounts. As of the posting of this article, the site rentboy.com does not appear to be working.
Rentboy.com presents itself as a social networking site that merely pairs up escorts and masseurs with clients but leaves the financial transaction aspects up to those parties. Escorts pay to advertise services on the site, while potential clients pay a different rate to see the services being advertised. In a statement, acting New York U.S. Attorney Kelly Currie alleged that the site is, in fact, making a profit by facilitating an illegal activity.
“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,” Currie said.
New York’s WPIX News quoted Glenn Sorge of Homeland Security as calling it a “global criminal enterprise” and NYPD Commissioner William Bratton as calling the business “a racket.”
The company’s official name is Easyrent Systems, Inc. WNBC notes that the company made $10 million between 2010 and 2015. The website first launched in January 1996.