UPDATE: Sentencing For Rentboy CEO Jeffrey Hurant Delayed Again

Posted July 20, 2017 by with 62 comments

hurant

[UPDATE] 7/20/17:

In what could be good news for convicted Rentboy CEO Jeffrey Hurant, his federal sentencing hearing has been delayed yet again. Hurant—who pleaded guilty to promoting prostitution and conspiracy to commit money laundering nearly a year ago after Homeland Security raided Rentboy headquarters and arrested several employees—was supposed to be sentenced tomorrow morning in New York, but Judge Brodie delayed sentencing again (the first delay was issued back in May), and it’s now scheduled for August 2nd:

delaysThe delay was issued in order to give prosecutors time to respond to a motion filed today by Hurant’s lawyers. The defense motion argues against the “base offense level,” which is what prosecutors used to calculate the amount of time they want Hurant in prison. In short, prosecutors are asking for an imprisonment term of 15 to 21 months, and here was how they got to that range:

guide

The defense’s motion filed today (which is currently sealed) takes issue with the base offense level and resulting range of imprisonment, and the fact that the judge agreed that their issue merits a response could be good news for Hurant. The government’s response to the defense is due by August 1st, and unless there’s yet another delay, Hurant’s sentencing will then be on August 2nd, 2017.

***

Previous update—5/4/2017:

Last October, Rentboy CEO Jeffrey Hurant pleaded guilty in Brooklyn federal court to the promotion of prostitution and conspiracy to commit money laundering. As you’ll recall, offices of the now defunct gay escort service were raided in August of 2015, at which time Hurant and other employees were arrested. Prosecutors have been seeking approximately two years in prison for Hurant at his sentencing, which was originally scheduled to take place tomorrow. Late last night, however, the U.S. Attorney asked the judge for “additional time” to respond to Hurant’s sentencing memorandum:

rentby3

While the prosecution had asked for a delay of two weeks, the judge responded this morning granting the request and delaying the sentencing by over two months. Sentencing is now scheduled for July 21st:

Screen Shot 2017-05-04 at 12.28.40 PM***

Original story published January 27th, 2016:

Five months after his initial arrest, former Rentboy CEO Jeffrey Hurant was indicted today on charges of promoting prostitution and money laundering. The federal grand jury’s indictment out of Brooklyn, New York includes three counts: Promotion of prostitution, money laundering conspiracy, and money laundering. “Easy Rent Systems” (Rentboy.com) was also named in the indictment on each count. Hurant has been free on bond since August, and the justice department did not immediately indicate when formal charges—which appear inevitable now, given the indictment—would be filed.

Six other Rentboy employees also arrested last summer are still engaged in plea negotiations, with a U.S. Attorney’s spokesperson classifying the complaints against them as “pending.”

Homeland Security and the Department of Justice faced significant backlash from media outlets across the political spectrum (The New York Times, Reason) as well as civil rights groups following the raid and arrests last summer, which were considered by most to be a bizarre and draconian government overreach, perhaps motivated by anti-gay bias.

Here is the full indictment, which includes allegations that Rentboy.com was not verifying that all of its users were over the age of 18. Also included are multiple notifications of forfeiture totaling over $1.5 million, should Hurant be convicted. The funds mentioned have been seized since last August. Donations to the Rentboy legal defense fund can be made here.

  • Stephen

    What did he expect? His website should have been more filtered and moderated, keeping things like cock size, circumcision stats, top/bottom/vers, etc. out of profiles. I believe that services such as rentboy should be legal in the United States, but I also can’t argue that this man and his users willfully and worst of all SO VISIBILY broke the law.

    • Maximus

      Exactly. Rentboy threw parties and had an annual award ceremony for escorts. We may never know why the feds didn’t act until now, but it still shouldn’t come as a surprise when Rentboy employees were so blantantly engaged in illegal activity. Furthermore, it’s not as if these were acts of civil disobedience; the Rentboy employees were breaking the law in order to profit. Their hubris and selfish motivations disqualifies them from being the martyrs that sex industry advocates are trying to make them out to be.

  • andrew

    The motivation for the crackdown may be that the U.S. Attorney behind the action wants to be seen as tough on crime, to promote his possible future political ambitions. That is often the case.

  • RavensNationFlacco05

    All those LGBT rights people making a commotion, that this was a Homophobic event, without all the facts. I knew the NYPD did not call in HS because of prostitutes.

    • OneOfTheManyChris

      How do you know they did not call in HS because of prostitutes? There is nothing in the indictment other than someone was pimping Hungarians in the US and that Rentboy was constantly having to smack down on the underaged Asian boys. Rentboy was not trafficking those Hungarians, any more than the airlines and phone company was. Little boys in Asia are a problem, but not a threat to anyone in the US.

      • RavensNationFlacco05

        Because rent boy was using electronic devices to get clients and hookers from other countries.. That’s a homeland security job to handle..

        • OneOfTheManyChris

          You better explain that to me again. They were just facilitating the transfer of messages. They were not actually helping anyone move to the US with their teleporter computer servers. Was Rentboy supposed to figure out which hookers were illegals and report them?

  • sxg

    Unfortunately the charges are correct, it was a business based on illegal actions. I think escorting should be decriminalized and instead of focusing on trying to free Hurant of any charges, we should be focusing on publicly supporting laws that decriminalize escorting.

    • RavensNationFlacco05

      I agree, However everyones does have to realize that they were working and out of places where Prostitution is illegal. Whether we like it or no.t I believe if you want to sell yourself to someone for whatever that’s your issue, who has the right to say what you can and cannot do with it? BUT until that is a law we have to face the facts. Prostitution is Illegal.

    • Jace

      Plenty of straight escort sites operating in the US without government intervention. Why is that?

      • RavensNationFlacco05

        Still PLENTY of Gay escort sites operating in the US without government intervention. Why is that? – Don’t forget about the MONEY LAUNDERING!

        • uther9

          I have a theory that the whole ashley madison scandal got some Higher people scared.

      • sxg

        Because they pay their taxes.

    • Luca

      The ‘business based on illegal actions’ is an excuse for all this story.
      Escorting is not a brand new phenomenon that Rentboy exploited in a bubble. It’s a well-established business – gay AND straight- with multiple sites and advertisements all over, and I simply can’t believe the US government just happened to discover now after all these many years, and I don’t even believe Rentboy was the only one reckless enough to get caught.

      • Adam

        I grew up in New York City – escorts would advertise their services in newspapers, both major and local, and magazines. I believe this still happens based on the advertisements I see for masseuses. Following this logic, those publications should also be worried about serving as an aggregator for those sefvices.

        This is police over-reach and I hope the attorneys are able to get the owner off and start a public dialogue about prostitution.

    • cainenyc

      No, they are not. Rentboy was nothing but a listing service. They provided a place for escorts to place ads. Hurant was not pimping out anybody. Draconian is right.

  • There were NO VICTIMS. Consensual sex between gay men is not a crime! omg this is bullshit. I’m sorry Jeffrey.
    PLEASE DONATE TO RENTBOY DEFENSE FUND http://rentboyfund.org/
    #decriminalizeEscorting

    • RavensNationFlacco05

      No offense to you BUT I do agree with your statement ” Consensual sex between gay men is not a crime!” However ” Consensual sex between gay men is a crime when payment involved” is. That’s the law. Honestly there are a thousand worse things going on in this world that need to be fixed first before we take on Prostitution. Even that whole Heidi Fleiss thing wasn’t making people go this nuts….

      • Luca

        Escorts (both sexes, at all levels of money) got away for YEARS with the (hypocritical, but that’s it) formula that they were paid for their time and not for their body. Does the Govt wake up just now? and where are the raids to all the other escorting sites that are still massively present around the net? bah.

        • RavensNationFlacco05

          What about the money luandeting. You are only focusing on the prostitution,

          • Goodboy

            Any business they did was considered laundering since it’s all based on something illegal ie the prostitution. A very broad definition of Money laundering.

    • JustJim

      Actually Pam It appeares that there are VICTIMS here. According to the indictment, RB is accused of taking ads from a escort agency run by three men recently convicted for racketeering and running a Hungarian gay sex slave ring in New York.

      These non consensual VICTIMS, were forced to have sex and threated with physical harm or the death of their family.

      http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/gay-south-florida/article2498690.html

      It’s clear now, in hindsight, RB should have been more careful in vetting it’s advertisers and making sure all ads were for persons over 18yo and eveyone advertising was there of their own free will.

      • OneOfTheManyChris

        Yeah, this sort of travesty is an argument for legal brothels ala Nevada, where there are regulators visiting at regular intervals and rescuing the sex slaves. I guess the next question is whether Rentboy could have figured that out. These Hungarians must have been on an airplane at some point. Did you know that the airlines are now training their staff to look for trafficking? But no one blames the airlines if someone gets through.

        I wonder what would have happened if the cops had approached Rentboy and asked them to put some sort of program in place where they actually Skype with every escort and ask them about their work visas and picture ID. The pimps would probably be just off camera glowering, but it might have done some good.

  • Lemar

    He gotta arrested for that, seriously? Wow.

    • RavensNationFlacco05

      Did you not read? (Take the prostitution out of the equation) and still they broke the law. Why is the focus shifted so that all anyone is hearing are yells of injustice for Homosexuals and Prostitution and none of the other charges? Even the GoFundme page is geared toward “Prostitution” and none of the other illegal activities.

      • Luca

        because prostitution is the main thing the prosecution is based! if you read the first pages of the document Zach posted is extremely clear.

        • RavensNationFlacco05

          So if Money Laundering was #1 instead of #2. Then this would all go away?

      • OneOfTheManyChris

        So far as I can tell the extent of the money laundering is that they helped prostitutes collect money, so someone ended up with a bank transfer that said “Rentboy” instead of “John.”

        • RavensNationFlacco05

          Damn! That would have to be ONE HUGE Bank transfer to catch the IRS, and the NYPD’s attention. They were reckless. If you are gonna commit a crime at least be smart.

          • OneOfTheManyChris

            The indictment doesn’t mention otherwise, Judy. You’re not a real judge, are you?

            Why are you so intent on convincing people that there was actual mob-level money laundering going on? Is it because you have a stake in defending the NYPD and can’t believe they’d go after a bunch of gay sluts for no good reason? Or do you have actual evidence that something substantial was going on?

          • RavensNationFlacco05

            #1 I never said anything about “The Mob”. #2 I have nothing to do with the NYPD.. #3 I research!! I don’t get the truth from mainstream media and blogs. They are just a starting point.. Wow ” don’t defend a gay prostitute company and your against the whole community” typical actions..

          • OneOfTheManyChris

            Then share your evidence that money laundering is not just a euphemism for facilitating prostitution. It’s not in the indictment. I asked for it before, and your answer is “research.” What sort of research are you doing?

          • RavensNationFlacco05

            In September 2010 and March 2013, EASY RENT SYSTEMS, INC. applied to the United States Department of Homeland Security, Citizenship and Immigration Services for an H1-B non-immigrant work visa on behalf of SOTO DECKER. The application identified that EASY RENT SYSTEMS, INC. runs RENTBOY.COM which “revolutionized the escorting industry by moving it online and away from agencies and disreputable bars.” The application also said that SOTO DECKER had been operating as the accountant from July 2012, a position that reported directly to JEFFREY HURANT and which required him to prepare all financial statements and to strategically analyze, manipulate, and interpret financial data “in order to develop strategies and make recommendations critical for the CEO to utilize in his work to successfully mange and grow the company.”

            In connection with the application, EASY RENT SYSTEMS, INC. also submitted a job offer letter addressed to SOTO DECKER dated July 20, 2012, which identified the duties and responsibilities of the position. Among those duties was meeting with market, IT, sales, and customer service staff to review monthly expenses and see revenue and expenses optimization; supervising the company’s daily e-commerce transactions; managing the entire accounting, budgeting and reconciliation process for the company’s events, including the HOOKIES [an awards ceremony RentBoy puts on].

            The application also included some of EASY RENT SYSTEM, INC.’s books and records. Among the expenses identified was a listing for “Viagra — Sean.” In addition, the application included numerous articles about RENTBOY.COM. Man of those articles identified unambiguously that the escorts advertising on RENTBOY.COM were having sex with their customers in exchange for money.

            In other words, RentBoy’s parent company twice applied to DHS for an H1B visa for its accountant, the more recent application of which DOJ alleges included clear evidence the company was buying Viagra for an employee and reporting on the company made it clear that RentBoy sold sex.

            That there were two of them suggests Soto Decker may have either gotten it renewed (Youcan get two H1Bs for a total of 6 years, then you have to go home to your home country for a period) or been denied in the first application. Assuming he got the H1B would also suggest that immigration authorities not only agreed with Easy Rent that Soto Decker was a skilled employee (there’s no reason to doubt that) but also that the company could find no Americans to do an accounting job. Immigration authorities are very lenient with those H1B determinations, but they almost certainly could have refused that visa back in 2013.

            Still, that application to DHS in March 2013 was almost 30 months ago, and there’s just one sign I saw of active investigation since in the complaint. That detail appears on page 14.

            HURANT was present at the 2015 HOOKIES, where he provided an undercover agent a card with the RENTBOY.COM name on one side. On the opposite side the card says “Jeffrey Davids, Principal.” It also lists his email address as “cyberpimp@rentboy.com.” HURANT was asked by the undercover agent how the Hookies awards started. HURANT responded “Have you ever had sex with anyone and it was so good you had to tell someone? That’s what it’s all about!”

            In other words, in March 2013, Easy Rent submitted an H1B application that may have given DHS an opening to start this investigation. Two years later, they had an undercover officer attend the Hookies and get RentBoy’s CEO to say some damning things.

            That timeline — if it indeed shows the span of the investigation — is interesting for several reasons.

            First, it would suggest the investigation was started while Loretta Lynch was still US Attorney in Eastern District of NY (more on that in a sec). If this investigation started in 2013, it means Lynch, now the Attorney General, may well have been the one ultimately overseeing the investigation.

            Second, the investigation — with an undercover officer attending awards ceremonies and who knows what else — was active after the time the head of RedBook pled guilty in December 2014. DOJ had a proof of concept in that earlier bust.

            Finally, as a reader noted, the investigation had already started before the time, in July, when a RentBoy escort exposed his discussions with Tim Geithner’s brother, David, at Gawker. That is, this investigation is not retaliation for a RentBoy escort embarrassing the family member of a very powerful New Yorker. But the bust did happen after that

            Why didn’t they bust DaddysReviews.com?

            As the complaint makes clear, RentBoy has clear warnings against advertising sex and prices (which was one of the defenses the accused used). It bills itself as an escort site that will not permit the selling of sex.

            To prove that the profiles the complaint describes in depth involve prostitution, it relies heavily on DaddysReviews.com, which is a review site that not only describes completed acts of sex, but the price paid for that sex.

            One suggestion on this question is that DaddysReviews wouldn’t be prosecuted because they don’t take money.

        • Rentboy never took or transferred money with escort clients. They only sold ads. Its basically craigslist or task rabbit.

          • RavensNationFlacco05

            How does anyone other than the Guy running this business KNOW what actually was going on behind the scenes?? Was RentBoy’s work that transparent? Just because someones nice and promotes the sex industry doesn’t mean he’s not corrupt when he’s by himself. Everyone is trapped in the “Prostitution Bubble” and not looking at the bigger picture. Don’t worry, your whores will still make money and get gifts from their amazon wishlists and still make news for criminal behavior and domestic abuse. Now how about we focus on Stopping this goddamed war, feed our poor, and hungry, help Flint michigan and all the other things that need fixing.

          • RavensNationFlacco05

            Completely understand……. however As the complaint makes clear, RentBoy has clear warnings against advertising sex and prices (which was one of the defenses the accused used). It bills itself as an escort site that will not permit the selling of sex. (However the advertiser , so some non sexual reason, can say his cock size, Which is always a factor in non-sexual pay for time business?)

            To prove that the profiles the complaint describes in depth involve prostitution, it relies heavily on DaddysReviews.com, which is a review site that not only describes completed acts of sex, but the price paid for that sex.

            So they were able to tie the two together – RentBoy advertises “Escorts” (Non Sexual) but they use DaddyReviews for their clients to rate their “Advertisers” on a sexual scale. I have seen this many times on the internet.

      • After 19 years in business, the government determined the company “illegal” – therefore all the normal expenses of running a business (rent, staff, supplies, health insurance, etc.) are now being charged as “money laundering”. Its soooo fucked up!

        • RavensNationFlacco05

          Completely understand……. however As the complaint makes clear, RentBoy has clear warnings against advertising sex and prices (which was one of the defenses the accused used). It bills itself as an escort site that will not permit the selling of sex. (However the advertiser , for some non sexual reason, can list his cock size, Which is always a factor in non-sexual pay for time business?)

          To prove that the profiles the complaint describes in depth involve prostitution, it relies heavily on DaddysReviews.com, which is a review site that not only describes completed acts of sex, but the price paid for that sex.

          So they were able to tie the two together – RentBoy advertises “Escorts” (Non Sexual) but they use DaddyReviews for their clients to rate their “Advertisers” on a sexual scale. I have seen this many times on the internet.

          Example below from August 15, 2015:

  • Todd

    Unfortunately decriminalization at this point doesn’t help this guy at all. He’s already charged with conducting a business that was illegal at the time charges were filed.

    …. http://media.thecelebrityauction.co/picture/89/6fe0cc75d5697d8356e45f419b0bba.gif?i=CxcXE1lMTA4XFU0OFxUNCg4CBAYQTQAMDkwWEQpMDgQKB1kFCg8GWQsXFxNZEAsCEQYHWQ4XFU0ADA5MDQYUEEwUE04ADA0XBg0XTBYTDwwCBxBMUVNSVkxTVEwLFhAXDwZOBQ8MFE5UTlJXUFRWVVpaW1dNBAoF

  • john

    • RavensNationFlacco05

      Thing is no prostitutes were out of work.. They were all out that night..

  • Todd

    It is not a moral/body rights issue that will make the decriminalization of prostitution impossible.

    It is a financial one …….. who benefits from enforcing prostitution law — police forces, lawyers, correctional institutions, bail bondsmen, etc …

    http://cdn.makeagif.com/media/7-10-2015/t2PgQt.gif

    • beariac

      I think fundies and conservatives would also make it very difficult (and career suicide?) for any politician who attempted to reform the law.

    • nick

      I think also America likes to still believe it’s a wholesome Christian country where this kind of thing doesn’t happen.

      • uther9

        I remember reading a while back about a time when prostitution was banned. They kicked out the prostitutes of out the city, then their economy went to hell. It was so bad the pope had to bring them back in.

  • Trepakprince

    Government overreach at its finest. I can see if these boys were subjected to real crimes like theft or murder but buying a persons “time” is a victimless crime. Like marijuana, hopefully prostitution will be legal in a couple decades.

  • Xzamilloh

    Prostitution needs to be regulated. Not only to avoid stupid shit like this, but to actually protect the male and female sex workers going under the radar to avoid being arrested. All this does is put their lives in danger and continue to stigmatize them as being these seedy people with no respect for themselves. Yeah, some of them are only doing it to get their next fix, but for others, it’s legitimate income. And it is a victimless crime (Shut up, Jarec Wentworth!!!)

  • Marcus Collack

    All these agencies and courts are wasting so much money, for absolutely nothing. Burns admitted in open court on various occasions that he is involved in prostitution and does illegal stuff and pays for sex and the whole nine, yet he was never indicted or charged with anything, and I can almost be 100% sure he was using money that most likely was left off his tax returns to do these things. So is Prostitution wrong or not, and this guy was just like a listing service like a megaupload or an ebay, providing people with a service to list things.

  • Maximus

    Matters more deserving of the FBI’s time and money than this Rentboy prostitution case:
    •The Manitowac County Sheriff’s Department and District Attorney’s office
    •The need to simplify the VICAP paperwork so busy cops will actually have time to fill it out
    •The sex trafficking industry in Vegas
    •The refinement of current forensic lab techniques and the development of new ones
    •The Wall Street bankers and other reckless lenders who were largely responsible for the 2008 financial crisis
    •The immigration statuses, salaries, and working conditions of the employees at Donald Trump’s various hotels
    •That phenomenon wherein you only ever hit every single red light on the drive to your destination when you’re running late
    •The popularity and star-power of the Kardashian-Jenner clan

    • NomadicNinja

      “The Manitowac County Sheriff’s Department and District Attorney’s office”

      Oh, you sweet summer child.

  • BlogZilla

    Wow, not much brains in this twit. He could have set up shop in Amsterdam and had his computer servers there. Prostitution is not legal in the USA except for parts of Nevada

  • SaintMike

    one would think he’d qualify for a Cabinet position with those charges -Department of Golden Showers

  • Marlin

    Probably not good news for him, considering the henchmen that are now running this regime.

  • JohnJacobJingle

    Womp, womp, womp

    The guy was an ass. He thumbed his nose at the wrong people. He got his ass busted.

    • Ta-er al-Asfer

      You’re a heartless shit. I hope that gets your ass busted, you sick fuck.

  • Doctor Fate

    Anyone else find it suspicious the feds went after Rentboy right after the Ashley Madison hack? It’s not like the site was underground or on the dark web. Makes me wonder how many DC elites were soliciting service from Rent and wanted to make sure they went offline incase they were next to fall to hacking

  • David Lundquist

    RB was a decent business with good people. Unlike some of the competitors RB didn’t try to rip the guys advertising there off. Sites like rentmen actually stealth-steal content from escort profiles to recycle on other pay sites.

    RIP RB

  • matthewrettenmund

    Anyone on this thread saying, “Sex for money IS illegal!” needs to shut the fuck up and explain why sex for money is NOT illegal as long as someone is filming it. You’re on a gay porn site. There is no moral difference. None. Period.

    • McM.

      Porn is regarded as performance by the state, and thus is taxable.

      That’s it. That’s the only difference.

      Nevada made prostitution legal if operating under certain regulations, and this didn’t happen until officials developed means to tax the profession. Oh, and a big regulation is a corporate entity MUST facilitate activities, which transforms the “prostitutes” into employees. Individuals traditionally soliciting are still busted.

  • This is a tawdry witchhunt.