Delaware Public Media

Delaware AG files court case to dissolve Backpage.com

Nov 27, 2018

Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn is petitioning the courts to dissolve the legal entities behind Backpage.com, the classified advertising website.

This is the first time Denn is using the powers granted to him by state lawmakers in late June to terminate LLCs who are bad actors. Backpage, once called the “world’s top online brothel” was notorious for prostitution and human trafficking.

Nick Wasileski of the Delaware Coalition for Open Government said this is likely the first of many attempts to dissolve LLCs being used for nefarious purposes.

“It’s a real concern that we have that there could be many many of these things, I mean hundreds, I mean who knows you can’t quantify it," he said. "That are bad actors doing different things whether it’s money laundering or narcotics trafficking or you know embezzlement, bribery.”

The federal government seized Backpage’s website in U.S. and across the world. The company’s CEO later pleaded guilty to charges of money laundering and conspiracy to facilitate prostitution.

Backpage.com remained in good standing in Delaware because the LLC stayed current in paying its $300 franchise tax.