"" Founder David Elms Arrested in Phoenix, Suspected of Trying to Hire Killer

The founder of, a Web site the New York Times calls the of prostitution, has been arrested in Phoenix on suspicion of trying to kill one person and seriously injure another, selling drugs and misconduct with weapons.

David Elms, 38, was booked into the Maricopa County jail early this morning after he arrived in Phoenix from California, following information about him that police gleaned from the "Desert Divas" escort service investigation. Here's the straight poop from Sergeant Andy Hill's news release:

Suspect: Elms, David; A/M; DOB 4/09/71; booked into Maricopa County Jail for one count of conspiracy to commit murder; one count of conspiracy to commit aggravated assault; one count of conspiracy to possess narcotic drugs for sale; one count of conspiracy to commit misconduct involving weapons; one count of possession of drug paraphernalia

Victim 1: 32 year old female

Victim 2: 62 year old male

Phoenix Police Department investigators recently received information that Mr. Elms wanted to hire someone to kill the listed female victim. Investigators met with Mr. Elms after he arrived in Phoenix from California just after midnight on February 15, 2009.

Mr. Elms was arrested about 30 minutes later after probable cause was developed to arrest him for the listed charges. Investigators state that Mr. Elms contracted to have the woman killed and the listed adult male victim seriously injured. Mr. Elms was arrested without incident by officers from the Phoenix Police Department's Special Assignments Unit.

Some of you have asked if the information received is related to the recent "Desert Divas" case. Investigators said it is related because information in this conspiracy to commit murder case came from a suspect in the "Desert Divas" case. Investigators are looking into whether there is any other connection.

This investigation is continuing.

The above-referenced New York Times story says Elm's popular Web site rates high-end escort services and makes it easier for customers to hook up with prostitutes in the same area. Elm has supposedly made a comfortable living from the site -- and there are plenty of perqs.

From the article:

"He is the most influential man in the prostitution business in America," said Jason Itzler, the former head of NY Confidential, an escort ring. Mr. Itzler was released from prison last year after serving 30 months for the attempted promotion of prostitution.


Mr. Elms usually does not say much publicly about his Web site, asserting that reporters twist his words. But in an interview with in 2006, Mr. Elms said that he started The Erotic Review in 1999 because he wanted to empower the customers of prostitutes.

"I was getting ripped off," he said. "There was no way to hold people accountable for their actions."

And here's a sample from his site:

Clicking on one of the "providers" gets you contact and personal info. As in, really personal:

Elms is in the middle of a federal copyright infringement lawsuit and was fighting drug and weapons charges back in June (we're not sure how that turned out). The latest charges are his most serious yet -- and he'll be stuck with the "plead to the lead" policy of Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas.

Will Elms' next Internet venture have something to do with prison sex? 

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.

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