Dating site says "sugar daddies" are booming in Charlotte - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Dating site says "sugar daddies" are booming in Charlotte

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They're called "sugar daddies" and Charlotte has thousands of them. That is according to a website that pairs older men looking for "love" with young women looking for money. The site's creator says it's just another dating site, but a prominent Charlotte attorney calls it illegal.

WBTV spoke to a once struggling mother of two, who snaps her fingers and is swimming in money. She thanks and a few intimate moments with her "sugar daddy". She asked us to conceal her identity, so we'll call her "Michelle"

"All my bills, I just call them give them the account number, and all my bills are paid," she said.

She says her "sugar daddy" is 54, owns several businesses in the Charlotte area, and met her over a year ago, when she lived in Rochester, New York. He moved her and her two kids down to Charlotte, bought her a house, and each month, he gives her at least $5,000 tax free.

"I see him every other weekend (for) dinner, movies, and shopping. I have a credit card I use whenever I feel like using it," she said.

What does her "sugar daddy" get in return? Plenty of sex she says! The website allows women to choose how much money they'd like each month. Her "sugar daddy" bought her a BMW and she drives it with pride.

"I think it's probably illegal," said Charlotte criminal defense attorney George Laughrun.

Laughrun says the North Carolina statue is very clear.

"If you give money in exchange for sex, that's prostitution," he said.

It's a charge "Michelle" denies.

"Prostitution is when you meet someone and you guys have sex soon after you meet him and you leave with cash in your hand. With me and my gentleman friend, it was never like that," she said.

We took that question to the website's founder, Brandon Wade. He spoke to us from Las Vegas.

"It's very different from prostitution. Obviously a prostitute has to do it because she really doesn't have a choice. She has to sleep with all her clients. A sugar baby and sugar daddy relationship is very much a boyfriend girlfriend relationship," he said.

Wade says Charlotte is ranked number 19 on the list of top 20 cities to find a "sugar daddy." His stats show the average Charlotte "sugar daddy" makes $249,000 a year and is worth about $4.1 million. He spends on average, $3,249 a month on his mate.

"Here you've got people being paid to put Mary with John and that's sex for money and that's illegal," Laughrun said.

Laughrun says the state and federal government will not likely prosecute the operators and users of the site, because it's too costly and could be hard to prove.

"80 percent of those who actually have a relationship end up having physical intimacy," Wade said.

That statistic makes Laughrun cringe.

"You wonder about people's self respect to do something like that. I mean what's the difference in that and some girl walking on Trade and Tryon in a pair of short shorts on a Friday night saying, "hey baby, pull over." What's the difference?," Laughrun said.

"Michelle" says she has her sugar daddy, and is loving life.

"Slowly he started doing things for me. I never had to ask him for anything. He just gave and I never turned it down," she said.

Attorney George Laughrun alleged that the website violates a federal statute called "The Mann Act", which says, if you transport women across state lines for illicit purposes, it's a federal violation. Brandon Wade with the site denied Laughrun's claim.

WBTV did ask to talk with the "sugar daddy" himself, but "Michelle" would not identify him.

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