Fugitive Michael Pratt Is Wanted For Child Sex Trafficking And Many Other Charges

If you've seen Michael Pratt, or have any information about where he's hiding, please reach out to the IN PURSUIT hotline. Host John Walsh guarantees you can remain anonymous. Call or text: 833-378-7783 (3-PURSUE).

October 13, 2021

Michael Pratt [FBI]

Michael Pratt [FBI]

By: Michelle Sigona

In October 2015 California civil litigator Brian Holm was contacted by a friend he attended law school with about helping out with a disturbing case. Holm was told a young girl was conned into filming an adult video, signing contracts and the footage was released across the Internet.

The victim, according to Holm, responded to a modeling ad online, but what she didn't know was that it was a criminal conspiracy to get females to respond to the alleged advertisement and to ultimately get them to do much more than advertised.

According to authorities, once the females were chosen, they were brought to a hotel room, some even flown across the country, and this is where the generic modeling opportunity would take a dark turn.

Host Callahan Walsh spoke to one of the victims who did not want to be identified and is only known as Jane Doe #17. The victim said she responded to a Craigslist ad for a modeling job that would pay her $5,000. Jane Doe was flown to California and met the team at a hotel.

It was after her arrival and behind closed doors that she was told she would appear in an adult film, and not a photo shoot. "I was in a room with two men I did not know. I was scared of what would happen if I told them no, I was scared I would be hurt," Jane Doe said. When the victim told the men she was not comfortable with what was happening, she felt threatened by their response.

That's when Jane Doe said she was given marijuana and alcohol to calm down and felt like she had no other choice but to perform during this horrifying experience. The victim said she was told the videos would go straight to DVD and only be shown in Australia, but what she didn't know was it was all a lie.

"I did not know what was going to happen if I tried to leave," Jane Doe added.

The FBI believes dozens and dozens of females have been victimized through this scam. Holm told Callahan Walsh many of the victims have even tried to committ suicide. According to their wanted poster, "Some women were not permitted to leave the shooting locations until the videos were made and others were allegedly forced to perform certain sex acts they had declined to do. Allegedly, some of the women were sexually assaulted."

The mastermind boils down allegedly to one person Holm said, "Michael Pratt is the visionary of this, the buck stops with him."

Holm added what the crime is in all of this was sex trafficking, "If you are lying to someone, coercing them, having them sign things under duress, the paper is just paper. It's no longer a contract, it's unenforceable, and it's a crime."

As for Jane Doe, she said, "It was the worst day of my life."

Jane Doe returned home and didn't hear anything for months. It was then when she was tagged in a teaser to an adult video of herself, when she realized everything she was told was not true. Within moments, friends, family, people she went to school with (and so many more) learned about the adult footage that was shot in the hotel room.

Instead of remaining quiet, Jane Doe said she felt she had to warn other women. She took to Craigslist and began making her own ads to warn others about the company and the things they did to her. Jane Doe said it didn't matter how fast she was at putting out the information, someone was monitoring the page, and within minutes, her posts were flagged and removed.

Pratt's company sent a cease and desist letter directly to Jane Doe's home, to her parents, and it wasn't just the letter in the envelope, but they included pictures without her clothes on to her family.

A civil case was brought against Pratt, and the victims won a large amount of money. It wasn't long before the criminal case followed. The FBI said they learned about Pratt in 2012 when they received a tip about a 16-year-old girl. She was allegedly tricked into making an adult video and it was posted online, allegedly by Pratt.

The FBI was eventually able to get a search warrant for Pratt's business and they seized a number of pieces of evidence, including computers, hard drives and massive amounts of video. Supervisory Agent with the FBI, Renee Green said, if you played the footage they seized 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, it would take you 3 1/2 years to get through all of the footage. "It's actually the largest amount of data we've ever seized in this division," Green added.

Pratt is currently facing a number of serious charges including sex trafficking of a minor.

Although others have pleaded guilty for their role in this case, Pratt is still on the run. The FBI said, "From approximately 2012 to October 2019, in the Southern District of California and elsewhere, Michael James Pratt and others allegedly participated in a conspiracy to recruit young adult and minor women to engage in commercial sex acts by force, fraud and coercion."

Over the years, according to the FBI, Pratt's websites made more than $17 million.

If you've seen Michael Pratt, or have any information about where he's hiding, please reach out to the IN PURSUIT hotline. Host John Walsh guarantees you can remain anonymous. Call or text: 833-378-7783 (3-PURSUE).

Michael Pratt [FBI]

Michael Pratt [FBI]

HEIGHT: 5 feet 10 inches

WEIGHT: 209 pounds

HAIR: Brown

EYES: Hazel

RACE/SEX: White male

DOB: November 10, 1982

ALIASES: Michael Pratt, Michael J. Pratt, Mark

BIRTH PLACE: New Zealand

CONNECTIONS TO: New Zealand, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Singapore, Japan, Chile, Croatia, Australia and France

Read more: US DOJ, San Diego Union-Tribune

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