A Mountain View man pleaded guilty Thursday to facilitating prostitution by running a website that allowed sex workers to advertise services and make private arrangements, federal prosecutors announced.
Officials with the U.S. Justice Department said it was the first federal conviction of a website operator for facilitation of prostitution. Eric “Red” Omuro, 53, entered the plea today in the courtroom of U.S. District Judge William Orrick.
In a plea agreement with prosecutors, he pleaded guilty to using a facility of interstate commerce with the intent to facilitate prostitution The terms of the agreement were not immediately released. Omuro operated the website myRedBook.com, previously sfRedBook.com, from April 2010 until June 25 of this year, when he was arrested, prosecutors said.
The websites allowed users to post and respond to ads offering services including massage, stripping, domination and sex in San Francisco and throughout the West Coast. Through sale of premier advertisements and VIP memberships, prosecutors said the website generated more than $5.4 million in revenue for Omuro that he moved into several bank accounts.
As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors said Omuro agreed to forfeit $1.28 million in cash and property and the domain names sfRedbook.com and myRedBook.com. A co-defendant in the case, Annmarie Lanoce, 40, of Rocklin, California, entered a guilty plea in the case last month.
Lanoce is scheduled to be sentenced on March 19 and Omuro is scheduled to be sentenced on March 26.