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A Stanford law school graduate pleaded guilty Monday to federal income tax evasion charges, admitting she ran a high-priced call girl service "entertaining'' clients in cities across the country.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, filed in federal court in San Jose, Cristina Warthen agreed to pay $313,000 to the government to cover taxes on the earnings she made as a prostitute who went by the name of "Brazil.'' As part of the plea bargain, Warthen would not be sent to federal prison, but instead would serve one year of home detention and three years of probation.
During a hearing, Warthen, dressed in a gray pants suit, said little as she agreed to the terms of the plea arrangement. U.S. District Judge James Ware set Warthen's sentencing for June 15.
Federal prosecutors in September charged Warthen, 34, with tax evasion, alleging she failed to pay taxes on more than $133,000 she earned as a prostitute in 2003. Court papers show Warthen at the time was jetting off to Washington, D.C., Chicago, New York and other cities for liaisons with clients she solicited on her steamy Web site,"Touchof Brazil.net,'' all of whom paid her in cash.
In court papers filed Monday, Warthen admitted she dealt only in cash to "hide my income,'' which previous documents show she used to pay off her debts from Stanford law school, where she graduated in 2001. As the government was investigating the escort service, Warthen married David Warthen, the wealthy co-founder of the online search engine Ask Jeeves, now known as Ask.com. Warthen currently lives in Los Angeles.
Brian Getz, Warthen's lawyer, told the judge today that Warthen needed some extra time to come up with the payment for the government. The $313,000 amount was described in court as the "net proceeds'' from Warthen's escort service. Court papers say Warthen spent more than $51,000 in expenses in 2003 for hotels, travel and car rentals for her rendezvous with the clients.
Warthen's business as a high-priced prostitute was first revealed several years ago, when the government searched her then-home in Oakland and seized more than $61,000 in cash suspected to be linked to her escort business. The government alleged in court papers that she started the escort service in 2001.