The USA’s FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) has thanked the Spanish National Police for their coordination in the arrest of Michael James Pratt, one of the bureau’s 10 most wanted fugitives, who was detained in Madrid on Wednesday 21 December.
Pratt, the founder of a California-based porn empire that coerced young women into filming adult videos was arrested in the Spanish capital three years after he fled the USA while facing federal sex-trafficking charges, the FBI announced.
‘The capture of Michael Pratt is an example of how the FBI will pursue justice beyond US borders – you can run but you can’t hide,’ said Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Stacey Moy of the FBI San Diego Field Office. In a statement, Moy thanked ‘the Spanish National Police, the US Marshals Service, the US Department of Homeland Security, and the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement for their coordination in the arrest of Michael Pratt, and the public for their assistance in this investigation’.
Pratt, 40, a New Zealand native, will be held in Spain pending extradition to San Diego to face charges of sex trafficking and sex trafficking of a minor, production of child pornography and money laundering conspiracy.
The FBI statement said that Pratt’s arrest by the Spanish National Police was ‘pursuant to an Interpol Red Notice’. A Red Notice is a request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and ‘provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender, or similar legal action’.
The FBI had been offering $100,000 for information that could lead directly to Pratt’s arrest.
Pratt founded the now-defunct GirlsDoPorn website in San Diego. In 2019, he and others were charged in San Diego with sex crimes after being targeted in a civil lawsuit by 22 women who claimed they were victimised by fraud and breach of contract.
The women said they were plied with alcohol and marijuana before being rushed through signing a contract, which they were not allowed to read. Some said they were sexually assaulted and held in hotel rooms unwillingly until adult filming had ended.
Spanish authorities have captured #FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitive Michael James Pratt in Madrid, Spain. Pratt has been a fugitive since 2019 and was wanted for sex trafficking and the production of child pornography. https://t.co/LYeXNDp39M pic.twitter.com/hPj10GbzsM— FBI (@FBI) December 23, 2022