Most states have laws against prostitution, and Arizona is no exception. In response to prostitution laws, however, many budding entrepreneurs might run a business as a front for illegal activities, taking advantage of certain loopholes for sex-related businesses. One example is an Arizona man named James Hartwell, who was found guilty of running a house of prostitution last April and delivered a 2-decade prison sentence in August. Let’s take a closer look at this story that shook up local news throughout the summer.
A production studio created a thinly-veiled disguise
Hartwell had operated a pornography production business, which claimed to rent cameras, studio space, and everything else that amateur filmmakers might need to create their own erotica—including female actresses. The film production angle was, however, little more than a front to disguise a prostitution business that was raking in upwards of $40,000 monthly. By making claims as a production studio, Hartwell tried to make a case for the legitimacy of his operation, but his court case made it clear what was really going on.
A guilty conviction delivers a hefty sentence
During Hartwell’s case, it was revealed that the investigation of his business had been taking place for years, as it began in 2012 when police received a tip about the possible brothel. Hartwell, who did not appear to show any remorse for his actions in court, was given a 24-year prison sentence for his crimes, though the prosecution had argued for an even longer sentence of 44-years. At the time of his sentencing, Hartwell was 57-years old.