Released on bond, they were prohibited from going online or associating with former users of the site.The United States attorney's indictment against Omuro claims he took in more than million.The site brought in revenue from fees paid by Red Book users for access to the site's enhanced features.It's unclear why the authorities targeted Red Book and not the array of other sites where sex is openly bought and sold.Omuro also added a key functionality—he made it possible for sex workers to advertise their services.Red Book may have been full of racy talk and the promise of erotic assignations, but the site itself was anything but sexy.Both Omuro and Lanoce are due in court in March for sentencing.San Francisco's gritty Tenderloin district is bordered by touristy Union Square on one side and tony Nob Hill on another.
But the most valuable part of the site was its reviews section.In 2012 Twitter installed its lavish new headquarters in an old art deco building on Market Street, kicking off a surge of corporate moves to the area by the likes of Uber, Spotify, Yammer, and Square.In turn, hundreds of young tech workers have recently relocated to the Tenderloin and are rapidly changing the economics of a neighborhood that has managed to resist gentrification for decades.The Feds' message, still up today, asserts that there is probable cause that the site was involved in “money laundering derived from racketeering based on prostitution.”Federal agents arrested Omuro, 54, along with Annmarie Lanoce, a 41-year-old bespectacled mother from Rocklin, California, a suburb of Sacramento.(Lanoce worked for Omuro, helping to moderate Red Book and manage its operations.) Their homes were raided and their computer equipment confiscated.The officer says something quietly to her, and she walks back to her post. Providers could choose to meet only customers who were well known and well liked on Red Book's forums, and some workers even required references from other escorts on the site before taking on a new client.A beat later, the cops are gone, and she continues to hail passersby—just a little more subtly now. “Red Book provided a space to safely negotiate and screen clients that reduced the likelihood of being victimized by predators or cops,” says Kristina Dolgin of the Sex Workers Outreach Project, a national advocacy group.The US attorney's office declined to offer any comment, but its indictment speaks for itself.Both Omuro and Lanoce initially pleaded not guilty to all charges, but in November Lanoce changed her plea in the hope that it might allow her to avoid a felony sentence in exchange for good behavior.Its ugly, bare-bones design was straight out of the early 2000s.It resembled a web page you might use to find a new job or a secondhand bike.