SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The FBI reached out to the public Wednesday for help in tracking down a man who faces federal charges for allegedly operating San Diego-based pornographic websites that recruited young women and at least one teenage girl to engage in commercial sex acts by force, fraud and coercion.
The federal agency has posted a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest of 37-year-old Michael James Pratt, who co-owned and ran online sites called "Girls Do Porn" and "Girls Do Toys."
An indictment unsealed last fall alleges that Pratt also produced pornographic content involving a 16-year-old girl.
Pratt and his co-defendants allegedly videotaped sex acts under the guise of distributing the footage only to private clients, then disseminated the clips online without the victims' knowledge or consent.
In January, a judge awarded about $13 million to nearly two dozen women who sued the owners and operators of GirlsDoPorn.com. The plaintiffs -- identified in court documents as Jane Does 1 through 22 -- were awarded just under $9.5 million in compensatory damages and $3.3 million in punitive damages.
Superior Court Judge Kevin Enright ruled that the defendants falsely claimed that the videos would never appear on the internet and were instead solely filmed for DVDs to be sold to customers living outside the United States.
Those lies were often bolstered by "reference women" who posed as models and provided "new recruits with false comfort that the experience (was) safe and enjoyable, and that (previously recorded) videos have never appeared online or been discovered by anyone in the models' lives," according to the judge's 187-page ruling.
Also charged and awaiting trial in the case are company co-owner Matthew Isaac Wolfe; porn actor Ruben Andre Garcia; administrative assistant Valorie Moser; and Amberlyn Dee Nored, who is accused of lying to victims about how the pornography they were performing in would be distributed.
Anyone who may have information on the whereabouts of Pratt is asked to contact the FBI at 858-320-1800 or contact the agency online at tips.fbi.gov.