Porn Company Charged by Feds for Sex Trafficking

SAN DIEGO (CN) – Amidst a months-long civil fraud trial for allegedly engaging in a bait-and-switch scheme to get women to appear in pornographic videos shot in San Diego, the owner and operators of GirlsDoPorn were criminally indicted on sex trafficking charges Thursday.

GirlsDoPorn website owner Michael Pratt, who co-owns the website GirlsDoToys alongside Matthew Wolfe – who also shot porn videos for the websites which have generated $17 million in revenue – were indicted in the Southern District of California.

Actor Ruben Andre Garcia and administrative assistant Valorie Moser were also charged.

Pratt, Wolfe and Garcia face charges for engaging in sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion plus conspiracy to commit sex trafficking.

Moser only faces a conspiracy charge.

All the defendants face up to life in prison and a maximum $250,000 fine if convicted, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Pratt’s whereabouts are currently unknown, as he left the country in recent weeks despite a subpoena to appear as a witness in the ongoing civil trial in Superior Court Judge Kevin Enright’s courtroom.

Wolfe testified in the civil trial several days last week. He said on Oct. 1 Pratt was in New Zealand and that he flew there from Tijuana, Mexico – twenty minutes south of downtown San Diego – after experiencing “health issues” and “receiving threats” in the lead-up to the trial.

“It’s been months since I’ve seen him,” Wolfe said.

Pratt is considered a fugitive, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Garcia was arrested Wednesday; Wolfe, a New Zealand native, was taken into custody by immigration officials Tuesday – a day after completing his direct examination in the civil trial – and transferred to federal criminal custody, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

They were arraigned in federal court Thursday. Moser is scheduled to be arraigned Friday.

Ed Chapin, a partner at Sanford Heisler Sharp and lead trial counsel in the civil fraud case, said in a statement: “We are not 100% certain how this will affect our trial.”

“Irrespective of this federal criminal indictment, we are committed to moving forward with the civil trial that has been underway for eight weeks. We want to get justice for the women that these men harmed as well as damages for the devastating events they lived through and have had to deal with ever since,” Chapin said in the statement.

Chapin said Judge Enright may stay the civil case pending the criminal matter. They are two weeks away from finishing the case, he said.

According to the complaint, the conspiracy started in October 2013 when the defendants would “recruit young adult women to engage in commercial sex acts by fraud and coercion.”

Women who responded to modeling ads online were told the “gigs” were for porn videos, not modeling, and they’d be paid between $3,000 to $5,000 for a one-day shoot.

But according to the indictment and civil trial, the women were frequently underpaid.

The women were told the videos would never appear online and would be distributed on DVDs outside the United States or sold to private collectors overseas.

“Members of the conspiracy assured the women that their friends and families would never learn that the women had appeared in the videos. To help convince them, Pratt paid other young women working at his direction, including Moser, to act as references or provide false assurances to the women that, if they filmed a video, the video would not be posted online,” according to the indictment.

The videos would be posted online within a few months of filming to GirlsDoPorn and GirlsDoToys as well as to free websites such as PornHub to generate traffic to the subscription websites, according to the indictment.

Any additional victims of the alleged crime are asked to call the San Diego FBI at (858) 320-1800.

%d bloggers like this: