District Judge Margo K. Brodie
Defendant was indicted for promoting prostitution in violation of the Travel Act, and New York Penal Law §§230.25 and 230.20 for running Rentboy.com, a web site connecting escorts with clients. His firm Easy Rent Systems was indicted for money laundering violating 18 USC §1956(a) and (h). Defendant was to be sentenced after pleading guilty to promoting prostitution. The U.S. Probation Department’s pre-sentence report recommended a base offense level of 14 under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. District Court rejected defendant’s arguments for a base offense level of six under 18 USC §1384. Finding the Mann Act the most analogous federal offense to the promotion of prostitution under New York law, the court deemed the applicable base offense level to be 14. Although not addressed by the Second Circuit, other circuits have found the Mann Act to be most analogous to the prostitution promotion offenses charged under the Travel Act. Nor did defendant’s plea allocution support application of a different offense level. Because he allocuted to both the felony and misdemeanor offenses of promoting prostitution, defendant’s offense was most analogous to the Mann Act, which under the Sentencing Guidelines carried a base offense level of 14.