GirlsDoPorn operator admits videos were part of sex-trafficking conspiracy
The operator of the GirlsDoPorn empire, which coerced young women into filming adult videos that were widely released online, pleaded guilty in San Diego federal court last month to a single count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking.
Matthew Isaac Wolfe, 40, admitted to his role in the broad scheme that recruited numerous women under false pretenses for pornography. His responsibilities included running the day-to-day operations of the websites, managing the finances, marketing the content and serving as cameraman for about 100 videos.
For the record:
10:26 a.m. Sept. 2, 2022An earlier version of this article said Wolfe pleaded guilty Aug. 30. He pleaded guilty July 26.
The conspiracy count to which Wolfe pleaded guilty July 26 pertains to 15 victims, all adults.
Three other co-defendants have already pleaded guilty in the case, while the remaining defendant, GirlsDoPorn owner Michael James Pratt, 39, remains a fugitive.
A federal grand jury indicted Wolfe and other key participants in 2019.
At the time, the defendants were embroiled in a lawsuit in San Diego County Superior Court filed by 22 women who were victimized by the conspiracy. The judge in that case ultimately found in favor of the women and handed down a $12.7-million judgment against Pratt, Wolfe and adult performer Ruben Andre Garcia.
Lawsuit accuses star punter Matt Araiza and two former San Diego State teammates of gang rape of a 17-year-old girl.
Beginning in 2012, the women and at least one minor were recruited first as models to come to San Diego, then pressured to have sex on camera with a porn actor in posh hotel rooms and short-term rentals around the county, according to federal prosecutors and evidence presented in the civil case.
The women were told the videos wouldn’t be made public but would go to private DVD collections overseas, they testified. Instead, the videos were widely disseminated on the GirlsDoPorn network of sites and beyond.
Wolfe admitted he was aware that the names and social media accounts for some women were posted on another website controlled by Pratt, resulting in severe harassment of the women by internet trolls. Still, Wolfe and others continued to assure recruits that their videos, and identities, would remain secret.
Victims said they were plied with alcohol and marijuana before being rushed through signing a contract, which they were not allowed to read or obtain copies of. Some said they were sexually assaulted and held in the hotel rooms unwillingly until filming had ended. Wolfe admitted in the plea agreement that some of the women were threatened if they asked to stop.
Operation Cross Country XII was held over the first two weeks of August and found over 200 victims countrywide, the FBI said.
Wolfe faces a sentence of up to life in prison. However, as part of the plea agreement, prosecutors said they would recommend a term in the midrange of the sentencing guidelines, not above 12 years and six months.
Prosecutors recommended roughly the same prison term for Garcia, the actor, when he was sentenced in June 2021 after pleading guilty to a sex-trafficking conspiracy. U.S. District Judge Janis Sammartino gave him 20 years.
Administrative assistant Valerie Moser and videographer Theodore Gyi, who have also pleaded guilty, are awaiting sentencing on similar conspiracy charges. A woman who had been accused of posing as a fake reference model to help coerce the women was charged initially, but her case was dismissed.
Pratt, a New Zealand citizen, went missing during the civil trial and is believed to have fled the country. The FBI is offering a reward of up to $50,000 for information that leads to his arrest.
The FBI said Pratt has ties to multiple countries — including New Zealand, Australia, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Singapore, Japan, Chile, Croatia and France — and “has the financial means to be anywhere around the world.”
“We know there are people that are helping Pratt,” San Diego FBI Special Agent William McNamara said.
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