As we noted at the time, the buyer behind that eye-popping sale of 2755 Fillmore Street, which sold for $13.25 million or roughly $2,577 per finished square foot back in 2016, wasn’t a foreign national. In fact, the buyer was Michael Lacey, the co-founder of Backpage.com.

This past Friday, Backpage was seized and shuttered by the Justice Department, the related 93-count indictment for which was unsealed this morning and includes charges of money laundering and knowingly facilitating prostitution through the website.

With respect to said laundering, counts number 83 and 84 refer to the transfer of $397,950 and $12,859,152.56 from Arizona Bank & Trust to Fidelity Title on June 27, 2016, and July 20, 2016, respectively, representing payments “for San Francisco property,” which we’ve directly tied to purchase of 2755 Fillmore Street.

And if Mr. Lacey is convicted, the federal government is positioning to seek forfeiture of the home.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Notcom

    “This is good for SF/NY real estate. It doesn’t take a lot of buyers to keep the high end afloat.”

    (Name withheld to protect the innocent or, perhaps, naive; and that last sentence ended up taking on a whole new meaning)

    [Editor’s Note: For context, the quote is from the relevant comment thread back in 2016.]

  2. Posted by g

    not sure how people live with themselves enjoying the high life at the expense of slaves and human trafficking. this guy is disgusting.

  3. Posted by Mystery Realtor

    Interesting. I looked up the sale in the MLS and neither the listing agent, nor the selling agents are local.
    All are soon going to answering some fun questions from the Feds.
    Especially the selling agents.

  4. Posted by Mark F.

    Backpage has not been charged with “sex trafficking.” Check the indictment.

    • Posted by SocketSite

      We’re well aware of what’s in the indictment (we reported above).

      The direct charges are facilitating prostitution and profiting from ads related to such, including ads which have been tied to sex trafficking, the revenue from which helped fund the purchase of 2755 Fillmore. All allegedly, of course.

  5. Posted by BobN

    If I were a federal agent, I’d be pretty happy if all my targets listed themselves in one place which I could use to investigate them…

  6. Posted by Pablito

    Well Maiden Lane – and most of the alleys in SoMa – we’re named after famous SF prostitutes and their houses. Seems a bit hypocritical for the landed gentry to get upset about it now when it’s clearly how their ancestors made their money….

  7. Posted by SocketSite

    While Michael Lacey has pleaded not guilty to the counts above, the chief executive of Backpage, Carl Ferrer, has pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy, money laundering and human trafficking and will be cooperating in the prosecution of Mr. Lacey.

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