Los Angeles Times
Porn website owner lands on FBI’s 10 most wanted list
SAN DIEGO — Federal officials have announced that Michael James Pratt, the pornographic website boss at the center of a federal sex-trafficking prosecution, has been added to the FBI’s 10 most wanted fugitives list.
The 39-year-old New Zealand native is the first person in 25 years to make the list from the FBI’s San Diego field office. As part of his addition to the list, authorities doubled the previous reward for information leading to his arrest to $100,000.
Pratt joins a list that contains five murder suspects, a sixth man wanted in a murder-for-hire attempt, the alleged top leader of the MS-13 gang in Honduras and a Bulgarian woman suspected of running a $4-billion cryptocurrency fraud.
Stacey Moy, special agent in charge of the local FBI office, said at a Wednesday news conference that Pratt met the requirements to be added to the list because he is a “very significant public danger” and authorities “need the public’s help in reaching where he might be located — somewhere, someone out there knows where this individual is at.”
Pratt came to San Diego from New Zealand in 2012. He started the pornography website GirlsDoPorn, which featured women appearing in their first adult videos.
“According to our allegations, Pratt used force, fraud and coercion to recruit hundreds of young adult women, most in their late teens, and at least one minor victim,” U.S. Atty. Randy Grossman said.
Pratt fled San Diego in 2019 during a civil trial in San Diego Superior Court in which his business of accused of using false and misleading claims — and sometimes drugs and alcohol — to coerce young women into performing sex acts on camera in luxury San Diego hotel suites.
The judge in that case found in favor of the 22 women who had sued Pratt and his GirlsDoPorn partners, handing down a $12.7-million civil judgment.
A federal warrant for Pratt’s arrest was issued in November 2019 on sex trafficking conspiracy charges after he’d slipped away from the home he’d been living in north of Escondido.
Pratt’s four co-defendants have already pleaded guilty in the federal case.
Authorities have said Pratt “has the financial means to be anywhere around the world,” is receiving support from others and has ties to multiple countries, including Australia, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Singapore, Japan, Chile, Croatia and France.