BARCELONA—The owner of the affiliate program HowIGotRich.com commented Friday about the Wednesday arrest of two of his crew members. Florida police charged the men with two counts of promoting a sexual performance by a child. Tampa police on Thursday also searched the HowIGotRich offices and seized computers, money and documents, according to owner Dirty D, whose real name is Michael Storm.
Storm's companies include Web Wizard Inc., talent agency TampaNudeModels.com, the aforementioned HowIGotRich.com and a network of adult websites that include PartyWildNaked.com. TheaterSluts.com and GloryHoleGirlz.com. His content is distributed on DVD by Kick Ass Pictures.
The charges apparently are based on accusations made by a female performer who Storm said has used several aliases, including Kelsey Cummings, while shooting for other companies in the industry. Published reports from 2008 refer to the young woman as "Brandy." According to police records, the HowIGotRich crew members and Storm encouraged her to say she was 18 before the shoot took place, even though they knew she was 17 at the time.
“Wednesday, two police departments arrested Stephen Shawn Chastain, 36, and Ryan Jay Holtz, 24, and charged them with two counts of promoting a sexual performance by a child,” reported the St. Petersburg Times Friday. “According to an arrest warrant, Chastain and Michael Storm, also known as ‘Dirty D,’ were present when Holtz asked the girl if she had her fake identification. Storm, 44, gave her a release form to sign and said he knew she was only 17, the warrant states. Chastain said he would pay her $500.”
Speaking from his hotel room in Barcelona, where he had travelled to attend the Barcelona Summit adult webmaster event, Storm told AVN.com the charges are utterly without merit and only self-implicate the performer.
While the Times article says the shoot in question took place in 2007, according to Storm's recollection it took place sometime before October in 2008. Because he is out of the country and away from his 2257 and other records—some of which may have been seized—Storm said he is unsure of the exact date. But he did say the first admission he is aware of from the performer that she had used a fake ID surfaced in Dec. 2008. Despite immediately removing from his site all images, video and promotional material depicting the performer, Storm told AVN.com that for reasons he still does not understand, the performer’s story recently changed again, resulting in the arrest of his crew.
According to Storm, Cummings originally sought him out.
“She responded to some of our Craigslist ads, and eventually a suitcase pimp brought her over,” he said. “She produced ID, filled out the model release, and we proceeded to shoot some scenes that were really nothing out of the ordinary. She rode the Sybian and did a glory hole [scene] during the shoot. There were absolutely no complaints during the shoot.”
It was months later that he first learned about the fake ID accusation in a story posted on AdultFYI.
"That December, she made her first claim about the fake ID, and now [in 2010] she’s making a claim that I was aware that it was a fake ID," Storm told AVN.com on Friday. "These are the radical differences [in her story]. Why she is doing this, I have no idea, but we shot her husband [after the 2008 shoot], and they have each shot [other adult content for other producers] before and after her shoot. Nothing was out of the ordinary with this shoot.”
While the husband was not the suitcase pimp who originally brought Cummings to the set, Storm said the husband was fully aware of the shoot. As far as the accusation that he or any of his crew suggested she lie about her age, Storm vehemently denies that charge, and others.
“It never happened,” he told AVN.com. “Neither me nor any of my crew ever asked her for a fake ID. That simply never happened. She also said that one of my crew discussed with her how much we would pay, and that’s not true, either. I’m the only one who discusses what we pay. She says that I handed her the model release, but typically I don’t even talk with the girl until after she’s produced ID and filled out the model release. It’s just one of those things: Girls flake out, sometimes don’t even fill out the paperwork and storm off, so I’ve made it a habit not even to talk with them until after all of the paperwork is done.
“In fact,” he added, “all of her statements are totally false. We were totally unaware that there was any problem with her ID until months later, when she made the claim that it was a fake ID. But that was the only claim at that point. Since then, the claim has changed dramatically to us knowing and conspiring to use the fake ID, which is blatantly false. I also just learned of a new claim being made that during the shoot, we somehow encouraged her to continue, or I grabbed her arm or something. None of that ever happened, either.”
Regarding the December claim that a fake ID was used, Storm has no clue how or why the allegation came about.
“It wasn’t even a complaint,” he said, “but just a statement she made that she used a fake ID. It appeared on AdultFYI, and I’m not quite sure where the statement originated from or who passed it on. There are definitely some haters out there that are encouraging bad things to happen.
“Once the initial claim was made that she used a fake ID, we immediately took all of her content down, contacted all of our affiliates and removed all of her promotional material, because it’s just not worth it,” he said. “If someone makes some kind of crazy claim like that, it’s impossible to verify. I can’t tell what her age actually was; I can’t tell anything, if she actually lied to me and committed fraud and identity theft. Right away, she’s already admitted to all three of those things, but somehow, all of a sudden, me and my crew knew about all of it and are a part of the conspiracy.”
Storm said if the girl in fact lied and was underage at the time of she shot for him, then there may be other producers out there with her content still on the market, because she said she had performed in adult content previously.
“When she showed up, she told us that she had shot porn before,” he said. “We talked about it. She talked about her husband shooting porn, and how surprised she was to have found out he shot porn by seeing him in a gay scene. So she already had a portfolio and was actively seeking adult gigs when she came to us. She’d already shot; her husband already shot. I don’t remember if we looked any of it up at the time, but I have an interview I videotaped where she talks about it. She had details.”
Storm said that he has been in communication with his attorney, but is unclear at the moment whether an arrest warrant for him has been issued, though he assumes that one has. He said that he has no intention of avoiding the situation by remaining overseas, but needs to coordinate his return through his legal team, which he is currently putting together. He did comment that he had seen a copy of the search warrant for his offices, and it contained a few irregularities.
“I have a copy of the search warrant, which lists only computer equipment,” he said. “Everything on the warrant starts with the word ‘computer;’ however, they took banking records, lots of cash and lots of other things that have nothing to do with the search warrant, and that’s a shame. It’s clearly been done to make it impossible for me to conduct any business.
“I believe a copy of AVN magazine was seized, as well,” he added. “In fact, I can pretty much guarantee it.”
Though Storm expressed confidence that he and his crew will be exonerated, his greater concern is for what situations like this mean for the industry as a whole.
“I think the risk is to the entire adult industry,” he said. “We all shoot models all the time. A claim [by a performer] that they used a fake ID is something that can happen to any company that produces adult material. We check their IDs to make sure they’re 18, but if we’re being lied to and fraud is being committed and if identity theft is being committed, who’s the criminal? Who committed the crime just now? That’s the issue. And to do it months after the fact even opens it up more, because most companies shoot lots and lots of people, so the risk is huge when someone decides to just change their mind.”
Storm said he is consoled by the fact that content producers are not required by law to ensure government-issued IDs presented by performers are in fact legitimate. The new allegations, he added, are of concern to him, but while he believes there is more than ample evidence to show they were fabricated, it is the state’s apparently lax standards that have him decidedly peeved.
“I have no idea if Florida is trying to send a message,” he said, "but what I do know is that they are betting on someone who is an admitted liar and has admitted to committing fraud and identity theft. If that’s their witness against me, then the standard is now very low for attacking any adult company.”
The added irony, Dirty D said before signing off, is that he is known for not shooting performers close to the age of consent.
“First of all, it just about never happens that an underage girl wants to shoot with us, but if it does, we just tell her to come back a couple of months after her birthday,” he said. “I don’t even joke around with it and tell them to come back a day after their birthday. We just don’t do barely legal stuff. It’s not what I’m known for.”
AVN.com has requested a copy of the police report and will continue to follow this story as it develops.