Pimping charges against Backpage founders, ‘Phoenix New Times’ operators tossed

Jim Larkin (left) and Michael Lacey /Photo: Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office

By Richard Ruelas | The Republic

The Phoenix men who founded Backpage.com, again, evaded criminal charges that they served as virtual pimps by hosting prostitution ads on the classified advertising website.

But the Wednesday ruling from a judge in Sacramento kept alive money laundering charges that say the website’s operators worked to trick banks into handing proceeds from the ads.

The ruling was the second time that Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, the founders and former operators of the Phoenix New Times, had escaped pimping charges.

Judge Lawrence Brown of the Superior Court in Sacramento County dismissed the charges based on the same legal theory invoked when the charges were dismissed before in that same county in late 2016: A law meant to clean up the Internet also provides immunity to Backpage.

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