Matthew Erausquin is a Virginia attorney who was arrested in Miami and accused of coercing underage girls into sexual activity, according to police.
A founding partner of the firm Consumer Litigation Associates’ Northern Virginia affiliate, the 45-year-old has been charged with sex trafficking involving six minors, according to Alexandria federal court records obtained by Heavy.
Erausquin has since been separated from CLA and “taken off all cases,” The Washington Post reported.
“We are still processing all that we have learned,” the firm said to the newspaper in a statement. “We are saddened and will remain bewildered now and maybe forever.”
Erausquin has not yet been appointed an attorney, The Washington Post disclosed.
He is slated to appear in court in Florida on Monday, November 23, the outlet continued, where authorities “will seek to return him to Virginia to face trial.”
Here’s what you need to know about Matthew Erausquin:
1. Erausquin Is a Founding Partner of Consumer Litigation Associates and Managed the Firm’s Northern Virginia Office
Erausquin is a founding partner of the firm Consumer Litigation Associates’ Northern Virginia affiliate, The Washington Post reported.
Although his profile on the firm’s website has since been deactivated, Lawyers.com also cites Erausquin as a founding partner of the firm.
CLA is a member of the National Association of Consumer Advocates, according to its website. Its primary focus “over the last decade” has been enforcing consumer rights, the page continues.
“Our attorneys are experienced federal litigators practicing solely in the field of consumer protection, and our firm does not represent business interests at all,” CLA claims online.
“The firm has successfully litigated hundreds of cases against the credit reporting agencies, banks, credit card companies and mortgage companies in federal courts across the nation for consumers, often co-counseling with other highly recognized law firms for trial purposes.”
2. The Investigation Began Last Year, According to Court Records
The investigation began last year when a 17-year-old high school student told Fairfax County Police that her friends had been paid “for sex” with an older man in his 40s, according to an affidavit obtained by Heavy.
The victims later told authorities that the man also gave them illegal drugs, such as marijuana, the document continues.
Authorities identified Erausquin through his cellphone, credit card, Uber and PayPal records, which confirmed his communication with the girls, the court record shows.
Erausquin’s data proved that he sent the victims cash and bought them first class plane tickets, cameras and luxury handbags, police claimed in the affidavit.
One victim who “moved across the country said Erausquin bought her a plane ticket home but threatened to cancel her return flight when she did not come see him,” The Washington Post reported.
3. Prosecutors Say Erausquin Met One Victim on Seeking Arrangement
One victim met Erausquin on Seeking Arrangement, according to court records, which is designed to connect “sugar babies” to “sugar daddies” or “sugar mommas,” the company’s website says.
“Seeking Arrangement delivers a new way for relationships to form and grow,” the organization claims online. It describes itself as destination where “beautiful, successful people fuel mutually beneficial relationships,” and is free to sign up.
Investigators said Erausquin met other victims through the student, the affidavit states. He also connected with some via Tinder, where he pretended to be 18, the court document continues.
4. Erausquin ‘Indicated’ That He Knew Some Victims Were Underage, Prosecutors Say
According to the Fairfax County affidavit obtained by Heavy, Erausquin “indicated . . . that he kind of knew their ages the entire time and liked it.”
Several victims lied to Erausquin about their ages, telling him they were 18, investigators said in the court document.
At one point, two of the victims threatened to turn Erausquin into the police if he didn’t pay them more money, the affidavit states. The 45-year-old then argued he would sue them for extortion, claiming it was more serious than sex with a minor, investigators continued in the court document.
5. Erausquin Attended the George Mason University School of Law & Economics
Lawyers.com claims Erausquin graduated in 2002 from the George Mason University School of Law and Economics in Arlington, Virginia.
Prior to joining CLA, he worked as a law clerk at the “San Francisco-based intellectual property firm of Fliesler, Dubb, Meyer and Lovejoy LLP where he was instrumental in a variety of complex civil litigation and software/electrical engineering patent prosecution matters,” the website states.
It adds that he previously entered active duty as an Air Force officer in 1996.
Erausquin “completed his active duty service commitment and his law degree while serving at the Defense Information Systems Agency’s communications and operations branch at the Pentagon,” Lawyers.com continued.