The month-long undercover operation was conducted by the Nassau County District Attorney's Office and the Nassau County Police Department.
Visual and audio footage of each meeting was captured by hidden cameras located in the hotel rooms that served as the scene of the stings. The group of men arrested includes doctors, lawyers, bankers, teachers, and other professionals.
The defendants have all been arraigned and pleaded not guilty to the crime of Patronizing a Prostitute in the Third Degree. Each defendant faces a maximum of one year in jail if convicted of the charge.
Authorities in Nassau County say the arrests mark an expansion in their efforts to target prostitution.
"Sex workers are often vulnerable victims of traffickers and pimps, yet they too often remain the prime targets in prostitution investigations while the johns who fuel the exploitation are treated as mere witnesses," said Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice. "My office and the police department are turning the tables on the illogical and immoral nature of that equation."
The Nassau County Police Department placed online ads on Backpage.com, advertising escort services provided by both women and men. Each ad provided a phone number, and patrons called to arrange a rendezvous with an escort at a local hotel or motel where undercover officers had wired rooms with cameras.
When the johns arrived, they met an officer posing as a prostitute, and once money was offered for sex, they were arrested and charged.