Larry Ray Laundered Money Through GoDaddy Domains: Feds
Skip to main content

Accused Sarah Lawrence ‘Cult’ Leader’s Followers Funneled Nearly $1 Million into His GoDaddy Account, Jury Hears

 
Larry Ray and GoDaddy

Prosecutors claim that accused Sarah Lawrence “cult” leader Larry Ray laundered his money through GoDaddy domains.

Over a nearly 10-year time span, accused Sarah Lawrence College sex “cult” leader Larry Ray’s daughter, alleged victims, and co-defendant together transferred nearly $1 million via more than 1,000 transactions to a GoDaddy.com account in Ray’s name, a federal jury heard.

Prosecutors called the thousands of domain names Ray reportedly amassed an elaborate scheme to launder his ill-gotten gains.

For nearly three weeks, Ray has stood trial on a 17-count indictment which charges him with racketeering, sex trafficking, forced labor, tax evasion, extortion, and other crimes. Prosecutors say that he operated a criminal enterprise largely out of a communal dorm of his daughter Talia Ray, allegedly preying upon her ex-boyfriend Santos Rosario, his sisters Felicia and Yalitza Rosario, and other alleged victims. One of them, Claudia Drury, testified that Ray forced her into prostitution and made $2.5 million off her sex work.

Fellow Sarah Lawrence student Isabella Pollok has been charged as Ray’s co-conspirator; prosecutors have depicted her throughout the trial as his enforcer and lieutenant. Ray’s daughter has not been charged with any wrongdoing.

For the past two days, an FBI forensic accountant named Mark Milton Lubin laid bare their finances for nearly a decade in a series of eye-popping flow charts.

GoDaddy flow chart

An FBI forensic accountant testified that this flow chart shows expenditures into Larry Ray’s GoDaddy account, key evidence for federal prosecutors’ money laundering claim.

The chart shows more than 1,427 transfers from accounts belonging to Pollok, Drury, Santos and Felicia Rosario, and Larry and Talia Ray totaling $992,991, dated from Dec. 16, 2011 to April 28, 2020.

Spanning 15 pages, the full document provides a glimpse into the alleged money trail for Ray and his followers. The file corroborates much of Drury’s testimony about money that she made from her clients—and where it went. More than $225,000 flowed from Drury’s clients into her Paypal account between Dec. 27, 2016 to Nov. 20, 2018. Drury testified that she mostly lived out of hotels during her time as an escort, and the flow chart shows that her spending tens of thousands of dollars at various hotels from her TD account.

Drury paid $18,160 to Hotel Tonight, $19,106 to Iberostar, $12,755 to the Time Hotel New York and $13,821 in other hotel charges between July 17, 2015 and April 11, 2019.

One of her ex-clients, Randy Levinson, testified pursuant to an immunity agreement with the government and said Drury was in constant need of money. A largely redacted chart shows that he was one of her biggest spenders among the 35 clients known to and examined by the government. He paid Drury more than $43,000 in 21 separate transfers.

Isabella Pollok

Larry Ray’s accused accomplice Isabella Pollok was charged separately and will be tried later this year. (Photo via DOJ)

The chart also sheds light on why Pollok, a former Sarah Lawrence student previously seen as a victim, was charged as an accused co-conspirator. One entry shows Drury sending her $2,000, and another shows her accounts as one of the largest contributors to Ray’s GoDaddy account. Two of Pollok’s accounts transferred more than $200,000 apiece to Ray’s GoDaddy. Earlier in the trial, Drury testified that Pollok picked up her prostitution proceeds and recorded what prosecutors described as her “long night of torture” by Ray.

Prosecutors say that Pollok and Felicia Rosario transferred tens of thousands of dollars to North Carolina Democrats, when Talia Ray had been working for the state party and failed House of Representatives candidate Lowell Simon in 2018.

Earlier in the week, Assistant U.S. Attorney Danielle Sassoon said that Rosario’s testimony that she was instructed to make payments via ActBlue for Talia Ray’s benefit “goes directly to money laundering.” The ActBlue payments to North Carolina’s Democratic party are depicted on the flow charts, with more than $15,000 flowing from Rosario and more than $10,000 coming from Pollok.

As the government wound down its case on Wednesday, prosecutors called three witnesses to bolster other aspects of Felicia Rosario’s testimony. Before her brother introduced her to Ray, Rosario was a recent Columbia Medical School graduate in a residency program in California, but she said those ambitions became dashed after her ill-fated romance with the defendant. She said that, though they were never married, Ray called her his wife, and she called him her husband. He then allegedly goaded her into increasingly extreme sexual situations, at one point directing her to have sex with his doorman.

That doorman, Carlos Pagan, corroborated her story on Wednesday, recalling her as the “little lady” with the bruise on her eye who was shaking as she told him Ray asked her to proposition him. Both Rosario and the doorman remembered him turning down the offer.

“Little lady, you need to go back upstairs,” Pagan recounted saying.

Felicia Rosario’s former classmate Julie Gonzalez testified that Rosario had asked her for $20,000, telling her it was to help out her brother. The third sibling, Yalitza Rosario, was the last witness to testify on Wednesday, recounting how her once-strong sister had become “wide-eyed, confused and highly distractible.”

(Photo of Larry Ray via DOJ; image of GoDaddy’s IPO via Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow Law&Crime:

Law&Crime's managing editor Adam Klasfeld has spent more than a decade on the legal beat. Previously a reporter for Courthouse News, he has appeared as a guest on MSNBC, BBC, NPR, PBS, Sky News, and other networks.