Is setting up a website for a probably illegal business illegal?
July 20, 2009 10:25 PM Subscribe
A friend has been offered some web work for a company I have suspicions might be offering something illegal.
I'm not asking for professional advice for him (he seems to have made up his mind), but the conversation I had with him has me wondering. Say he builds a web site for (conjecturing here) "Maggy's Massage" which is in all likelihood a front for a prostitution gig. Leaving aside any moral judgments about that type of business, and assuming he never saw, heard, read or in any way discussed the true nature of the business with the owners, is there any potential legal liability if he is paid to design and build a web site for them, and they are later busted?
If so, what would the nature of the trouble be? Would it differ if it was a "one time" gig versus a monthly maintenance contract? I assume the water would be muddied considerably if there was any sort of incentive attached ("hey, if the site does well we'll give you a bonus based on sales")? Would it differ if the website was just brochureware (some photos of a pretty woman and text promising "the best massage ever") versus something with, say, a scheduling component?
I've never been approached with anything like this though I've contemplated what I would say if I was (actually, what I'd say would be "let me talk with my lawyer and I'll get back to you"). My advice to my friend was to do just that (talk with an attorney before saying yay or nay), but I'd love to have my curiosity sated.