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Feds: Search engine bride was tax evading prostitute

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The wife of Ask.com co-founder David Warthen is facing felony charges after allegedly failing to pay taxes on more than $133,000 she earned as a high-priced interstate prostitute.

Federal court papers filed on Tuesday accuse Cristina Warthen - nee Cristina Schultz - of operating "an escort business, in which she exchanged sexual acts for money." According to the San Jose Mercury News, Schultz's life as a purported hooker was first revealed several years ago when the feds searched her Oakland home and found more $61,000 in cash.

Since then, she married David Warthen, who helped found Ask.com - nee Ask Jeeves - in 1996. Lawyers have claimed that the IT entrepreneur gave Schultz all that cash before they wed - for "vacations, wedding and/or honeymoon."

According to court papers, Cristina Schultz advertised her escort services from a website called TouchofBrazil.net, which included pricing, travel schedules, erotic photos of herself, and information on paid memberships to the site. Under the stage name "Brazil," the documents say, she traveled to cities across the country to meet with clients, including Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, New York, and Washington, D.C.

All this allegedly occurred in 2003, after she had graduated from Stanford Law School. Courts papers say she grossed $133,717 that year from her escort business and did not have additional sources of revenue.

Schultz's lawyer told the Mercury News in 2006 that it was easier for the feds to target her for tax fraud than prostitution. But he was sure to say "We never conceded she was an escort." ®

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