Backpage, A Den Of Rampant Criminals

Tony Ortega

During its time in operation, there were few who would argue Backpage was anything other than a den of rampant criminality and lawlessness on a scale the country had never seen before. Indeed, among its more infamous crimes were well documented histories of sex slavery, child trafficking, and murder — much of which we have examined at here on the blog.

By virtue of Backpage’s practically non-existent screening process — the same one Tony Ortega assured us was made up of “hundreds of staff” dedicated to keeping juveniles off the site — criminal behavior like this was made possible.

Ortega’s false pretense of corporate oversight was a lie then and it is a lie now.

This fact was made even clearer by a case in Los Angeles last week involving a 29-year-old man who was sentenced last Monday to five years behind bars for using the internet to extort at least $150,000 from men in Los Angeles, Santa Monica and elsewhere. 

Over a period of six years, Tyler Buchanan purchased ads Backpage and several Backpage copycat websites which appeared to offer sex services for hire, primarily targeting gay men in multiple cities and states. 

Once a potential victim responded to Buchanan by contacting a listed phone number, he would search online for personal information on the victim, then respond by text to elicit either conversation that was sexual in nature and/or an agreement to engage in a sex act for money.After a text conversation that could be potentially embarrassing to the victim, Buchanan would threaten to disclose the texts — which often established the man’s sexual interest — as well as threaten to report the victim to law enforcement for solicitation of prostitution — unless extortion money was paid.

Though extortion may not be the crime most immediately associate with Backpage’s modus operandi (that, of course, would be human sex trafficking),we have to admit it is very on brand that the sleazy, loophole-ridden online platform would be exploited in this way. 

The fact is Backpage was built to be exploited by pimps, traffickers and scumbag extortionists like this. The lack of anything close to the ‘proactive efforts’ Ortega promised Backpage was using to weed out criminals is exactly what made it the perfect place for such a wide variety of scumbags to run scams of every sort. 

But maybe that is why the bosses at the top put Tony Ortega in charge of defending Backpage to the public in the first place… It takes a scamming scumbag to know a scamming scumbag, after all.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Comments are closed.