Man Finds Mystery $500,000 in His Bank Account—and It May Belong to Backpage’s Founder

In this photo, owner Michael Lacey appears on Capitol Hill in Washington on Jan. 10, 2017. Lacey is accused of knowingly publishing ads for sexual services.
Photo: AP

A Phoenix news station reports a bizarre incident involving a $500,000 check mistakenly deposited into the bank account of a recent law school graduate.

The deposit was made in the name of Michael Lacey—the name of the co-founder of Backpage, whom the FBI recently accused of money laundering and facilitating prostitution.


Parker Fox, the recent graduate, reportedly checked his bank account this week and discovered the half-million dollars.

Fox told Phoenix’s CBS 5 News that he ruminated on the small fortune for a few hours over drinks with friends before contacting the bank the next day and reporting the clerical error. “You see an additional half-million dollars in your account, your imagination runs wild,” he said.

According to CBS 5, the deposit slip listed “Michael Lacey” as the account holder, but it had Fox’s account number written on it by hand. The check was reportedly deposited at Republic Bank of Arizona, a small community bank.


Backpage’s Lacey lives near Sedona, Arizona, which is a two-hour drive north of Phoenix. The FBI raided his home there earlier this month.

The deposit is likely to draw the attention of the feds, as Lacey’s charges include alleged money-laundering crimes. A former US attorney for the District of Arizona speculated to CBS 5, however, that the funds may be for Lacey’s legal defense.


“If you’re trying to do something unlawful, such as laundering money, you don’t deposit money in your own name,” Mel McDonald, the former US attorney, said.

Lacey was released from custody on Friday after posting a $1 million bond.

Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer pleaded guilty last week to money-laundering charges, facilitating prostitution, and conspiracy; he faces up to five years in prison. As part of his plea agreement, Backpage will remain permanently closed.

Advertisement was seized by the FBI on April 6th. Seven associates have been accused of making millions by facilitating sex-trafficking and prostitution.



Share This Story

About the author

Dell Cameron

Privacy, security, tech policy | Got a tip? Email: | Send me encrypted texts using Signal: (202)556-0846

PGP Fingerprint: A70D 517E FB9A 02C9 C56E 86D5 877E 64E7 10DF A8AEPGP Key
OTR Fingerprint: 2374A8EA 6D2B7712 0D82D659 C0FE8253 A3F080FD