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Stanford law graduate who allegedly was a call girl pleads guilty to tax evasion

Christina Warthen once boasted that she paid off student loans by working as an escort, a search warrant affidavit says.

January 27, 2009|Richard C. Paddock

SAN FRANCISCO — A Stanford law school graduate who allegedly boasted online that she paid off her student loans by working as a high-priced call girl pleaded guilty Monday to tax evasion and agreed to pay $313,134 in penalties.

Cristina Warthen, 35, who went by the name Brazil and advertised on a website called TouchofBrazil, traveled across the country to provide her services from 2001 to 2003, according to court documents filed by federal prosecutors in Northern California. She now lives in Los Angeles.

Formerly known as Cristina Schultz, Warthen married Ask Jeeves founder David Warthen. In 2004, he sought to intervene in the case and said the money she received was a gift from him.

Cristina Warthen was indicted on one count of tax evasion based on her activities in 2003. U.S. Atty. Joseph Russoniello charged that she received $133,000 that year from her escort business and owed $25,424 in back taxes.

In pleading guilty, Warthen agreed to pay $313,134 -- the amount she received through her illegal enterprise, said Internal Revenue Service spokeswoman Arlette Lee.

Under the plea agreement, Warthen would not go to prison but would be ordered to spend a year confined to her home. Sentencing is set for June 15.

According to a search warrant affidavit filed earlier, Warthen began working as a prostitute in 2001 and advertised extensively on the Internet. On her income tax returns, she listed her business as "tour service" and her business name as "Girls of Ipanema."

An agent searched the trash at her Palo Alto home and found financial records and a law book containing $2,400 in hundred-dollar bills apparently used as bookmarks.

According to the affidavit, Warthen posted on a website for "high dollar hotties." One entry titled "newfound freedom after giving up the law" says she had completed her law degree at Stanford and paid off more than $300,000 in loans.

"I have paid off 100% of my loans, and I have tried to send a positive message to SF escorts re: assumptions about the nature and social status of women in the business," she wrote, according to the affidavit.

An "authorized biography" on classmates.com says: "I am a wannabe socialite and supporter to my crew of friends. I have four birds, three stepchildren and a husband."

A Q&A on the same website asks what she is paid to do. The answer: "Relax -- I'm retired."

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richard.paddock@latimes.com

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