PHOENIX - An Aug. 17 trial has been scheduled for the founders of Backpage.com in what federal authorities have described as a scheme to knowingly publish ads for sexual services and launder money earned from the ads.
Founders Michael Lacey and James Larkin and the four employees of the classified advertising site have pleaded not guilty to the charges. Additionally, the site’s chief executive and sales and marketing director have pleaded guilty.
Backpage.com is accused of ignoring warnings to stop running advertisements promoting prostitution, sometimes involving children, because the site has brought in $500 million on prostitution-related revenues since its inception in 2004.
Backpage.com is a Dutch-owned company incorporated in Delaware, but its principal place of business is in Dallas.
Officials say Backpage.com keeps its bank accounts and servers in Arizona.