Feds charge companies run by porn magnate with money laundering

Richard Cohen, left, as a student at Northeast High School and right, in a more current photo. Cohen is the elusive CEO of a multimillion sex empire that uses phone lines and the web.
Richard Cohen, left, as a student at Northeast High School and right, in a more current photo. Cohen is the elusive CEO of a multimillion sex empire that uses phone lines and the web.
Posted: November 01, 2011

Two Philadelphia-based companies featuring escort services have agreed to plead guilty to money laundering charges with fines and forfeitures totaling $6.4 million, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney there said no date had been set yet for the plea hearing.

The companies are controlled by Philadelphia businessman Richard Cohen, the so-called "King of Porn." He has not been charged with any wrongdoing.

Authorities alleged that the companies, National A-1 Advertising Inc., and R.S. Duffy Inc., operated a web site called Escorts.com, which facilitated interstate prostitution activities. (The web site was shut down on May 31.)

The web site was created as an online network for prostitutes, escort services and others to advertise their activities to consumers and users of the services, the charging document said.

The two companies received subscription fees and payments in the form of money orders, checks, credit cards and wire transfers from users of Escorts.com throughout the nation, authorities said.

The fees were deposited into various accounts held by the two firms.

Federal laws prohibit interstate travel in aid of racketeering enterprises, specifically prostitution, and aiding such travel.

In addition to the forfeiting cash derived from the alleged illegal activity, giving up the Escorts.com name and paying a fine, National A-1 Advertising and R.S. Duffy have agreed to serve 18 months probation, authorities said.

Authorities said the two companies engaged in monetary transactions in excess of $10,000 which were derived from the allegedly unlawful activities.

The Daily News reported in June that Cohen sits atop a multimillion-dollar porn and phone-sex empire with offices near the Liberty Bell.

Andrew L. Miller, an attorney for National A-1 Advertising, declined Tuesday afternoon to comment.

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