Financial institutions face new challenges in identifying human trafficking payments following the federal government’s dismantlement of Backpage.com, the most widely used high-profile website for advertising prostitution, say sources. The website, which generated more than $500 million since going online in 2004, was taken down this month after prosecutors claimed that “virtually every dollar flowing into Backpage's coffers” was illicit. Several Backpage managers have been charged with prostitution and money laundering, and Carl Ferrer, the site’s chief executive, has pleaded guilty to those violations. Financial institutions will struggle to identify and report transactions and clients potentially tied to human traffickers following...
A network of at least 11 brothels in midtown Manhattan that was investigated and dismantled last year used dozens of personal and commercial accounts at some of the largest financial institutions in the United States to deposit more than $1.4 million in cash over five years.
Federal cases against attorneys, accountants and other professionals suspected of washing illicit proceeds have risen by roughly 30 percent in the year since the FBI began actively targeting third-party facilitators, according to the head of the bureau's money laundering unit.
The United States Justice Department issued a press release announcing that Carl Ferrer, co-founder and CEO of Backpage, and several Backpage-related corporate entities have entered guilty pleas to money laundering charges.