Tony Ortega’s Backpage Problem Keeps Getting Worse

Previously on this blog, we covered the massive bombshell story detailing how Tony Ortega’s former bosses just had their bank accounts seized to the tune of more than 10 million dollars.

Today another intriguing development in the story.

The sentencing of the former CEO of Backpage.com, the infamous website knowingly used for the purposes of underage prostitution, has been pushed to July 18 from its original January date. The move to delay formally throwing the book at Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer, who originally pitched the executives of the New Times tabloid chain (which employed Tony Ortega at the time) on the idea of an online prostitution advertising website, came at the request of the federal government. Though it is unclear why.

Intriguingly, a motion filed Nov. 30 of last year by the District Attorney requested to extend sentencing an additional six months “in the interest of justice.”

It’s yet unclear what is meant by the suggestive phrase, “in the interest of justice”. Could it be that the authorities are widening the scope of their investigation to bring all who engaged, at any and all levels, in selling children for sex?

Exactly what this might mean for Tony Ortega is unknown as of this writing, but the plea deal made by Ortega’s former boss acknowledged knowing that a majority of Backpage’s revenue came from escort ads, conspiring to launder revenues from the ads, and conspiring to sanitize ads by removing photos and words that were indicative of prostitution and then publishing revised versions of the notices.

As Editor-at-Large this is precisely the sort of thing Tony Ortega would have overseen. Indeed, Ortega has been vocal in the past in strident defense of those same practices.

Under the original plea deal, Tony Ortega’s boss could spend up to five years in prison or pay a maximum fine of $250,000. Might it be they will wind up extending the same offer to the large editor who oversaw the whole operation?

We’ll have to wait six months before we know for certain. But when we do, you’ll hear about it here first.

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