Backpage.com sales director pleads guilty to conspiracy
The sales director for Backpage.com pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges on Friday, saying that he was involved in a scheme to give free advertising to sex workers to try and keep them away from competing platforms.
The Associated Press reported that Dan Hyer, 49, faces up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 as part of his plea deal. Federal prosecutors will in turn dismiss 50 charges of facilitating prostitution and 17 money laundering charges against him.
The newspaper noted that its unknown if Hyer will testify against other Backpage.com executives as part of the plea deal.
The sales director said that the company would try to compete with sites like Craigslist by copying ads from the personal sections of those sites, and then offer clients free advertising.
Hyer also claimed that some of the ads were illegal because they would link to another website, where people could share reviews of their experiences with sex workers, according to the Republic.
Backpage.com as a company pleaded guilty to human trafficking charges earlier this year, and Backpage’s CEO also pleaded guilty to charges of money laundering.
Federal prosecutors have alleged that Backpage allowed ads for sex workers that featured underage sex trafficking victims.
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