SPOKANE -- Authorities named a local website called “The Spokane Board” as a contributor to a major prostitution ring bust across Spokane County.
The site advertises “escort services” in Spokane. Police say in at least some cases, those services were a gateway to prostitution.
Investigators say its creator, Tod Russell, was making money from every transaction between prostitution and a john.
“He gets paid from the people who use his site, who advertise on his site. In a way, he is also involved in promoting prostitution and the proceeds are money laundering and criminal profiteering,” said Airway Heights Police Chief Lee Bennett.
Detectives were alerted to Russell last year through a confidential informant. Officials waited until Monday to arrest him. Had they done so sooner The Spokane Board could have been shut down, compromising the investigation.
Tuesday evening, The Spokane Board was still up and running.
Two years ago, Craigslist went under fire for its “adult services” section. The company eventually shut it down. That is when the website Backpage.com became the leader in prostitution ads.
While technology is helping spread criminal activity, it is also making it easier for authorities to connect the dots.
“With advancements in technology, we also have that in law enforcement. You know what the URL is, so it is easier to track today then it was five or six years ago,” Bennett said.