Before she married an Ask.com cofounder, Cristina Warthen (née Schultz) advertised escort services online as "Brazil" and boasted of making enough to pay for her Stanford law degree. She has pleaded guilty to tax evasion.
Prosecutors brought charges against Warthen in October, after a long-running investigation whose highlight was a 2004 bust in her Oakland apartment. Police found $61,000 in cash there and in a storage locker; some of the bills were found in an old law-school book. Her husband, David Warthen, whom she married in May 2004, claimed that the money was a gift from him.
"I have paid off 100% of my loans, and I have tried to send a positive message to SF escorts re: assumptions about the nature and social status of women in the business," she wrote on an Internet message board devoted to "high-dollar hotties," investigators wrote in an affidavit filed in the case.
Prosecutors accused Cristina Warthen of failing to pay $25,424 in taxes on $133,000 in income in 2003, but in the settlement, she agreed to pay $313,000, the entire amount of her profits from what the IRS deemed an "illegal enterprise." She will also spend a year confined to her home.
Warthen has an "authorized biography" on Classmates.com. It reads: "I am a wannabe socialite and supporter to my crew of friends. I have four birds, three stepchildren and a husband." And her current employment? "Relax — I'm retired."
One thing that has always puzzled us: With her Stanford law degree, how did she manage to get in such deep trouble with the law? A person who represents himself is said to have a fool for her client. But Warthen hired professional help. Here's an email her lawyer, Jay Bettinger, sent us last year:
We attached our evidence, which includes a defamatory reference to my client as a "call-girl".
We have noted and recorded your slanderous and unfounded comment below which was wrongly published in the email to at least four individuals. In particular, you have indicated that my client is a prostitute and you base the opinion on 124,000 search results in Google. This is patently false. See the attached screenshots. Clearly there is a pattern of behavior here and your email below supports this position.
The content is defamatory, slanderous and has had an adverse impact on my client. The content is also misleading in that it indicates to the reader to think that the "alleged" events transpired in 2008. The one article appears to be dated February, 2008, which is within the statutory 1 year period to assert defamation. Finally, the usage of my client's names in metatags and within the link is not authorized and the defamatory tagging of references to my client is wrongful. We are curious to know how you came to use the pictures you have posted and why you have presumed that the pictures are of my client. It would seem that is wrongful as well. The content also falsely suggests that my client is affiliated with pornography.
We again request the removal of the content, slanderous metatags and references from any and all websites, blogs or other postings that you or your clients are affiliated with or otherwise have caused the posting. The next request will be a demand and will include attorneys' fees.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation. We look forward to written confirmation that you and your clients will cooperate.