San Diego man faces “revenge porn”, extortion charges

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A San Diego man was arrested today for allegedly
posting thousands of explicit photographs of women on a so-called “revenge
porn” website without their consent and then extorting money from those who
wanted the images removed from the Internet.

Kevin Christopher Bollaert, 27, was booked into San Diego Central Jail
on suspicion of 31 felony counts of conspiracy, identity theft and extortion,
according to the office of State Attorney General Kamala Harris.

Last December, Bollaert created a website called “ugotposted.com,”
which allows people to create anonymous, public posts of private explicit
photographs without the subjects' permission, court documents allege.

Commonly known as revenge porn, such images, generally of nude young
women, typically are obtained consensually by the poster during a prior
relationship or are stolen.

Unlike other such online sites, on which those depicted in the photos
are anonymous, ugotposted.com required that posters include the subjects' full
name, location, age and social-networking profile link, according to the
attorney general.

“This website published intimate photos of unsuspecting victims and
turned their public humiliation and betrayal into a commodity with the
potential to devastate lives,” Harris said.

Under California law, it is illegal to willfully obtain someone's
personal identifying information — including name, age and address — for any
unlawful purpose, including with the intent to “annoy” or harass.

Between Dec. 2, 2012, and Sept. 17, Bollaert and unnamed co-conspirators
allegedly posted 10,170 explicit photos without the subjects' consent.

Bollaert also created a second online site, “changemyreputation.com,”
which he used when people contacted ugotposted.com to request that content be
removed from the site, according to the attorney general's office.

Hundreds of alleged victims emailed ugotposted.com, pleading to have
their photos removed and describing embarrassing and frightening results from
the unauthorized posts, according to a search-warrant affidavit filed in the
case.

“PLEASE HELP!,” wrote a Los Angeles woman identified in the court
document as Jane Doe No. 6. “I am scared for my life! People are calling my
workplace, and they obtained that information through this site! I did not give
permission for anyone to put up those pictures or my personal information. I
have contacted the police, but those pictures need to come down! Please!”

Another woman described similar troubles resulting from the posting of
intimate photographs of her, which she said had been taken when she was a
minor.

“I have gone to the police, I've had a restraining order put in place
because of this site, (and) my phone has been going off EVERY 2 MINUTES with
strange men sending inappropriate things to me,” she wrote to the website.
“It's disgusting. Also, I've had to … have a sexual harassment charge put in
place in court because of this. I don't know what gets you off about ruining
people's lives, but I was underaged in the photos posted of me so, yes, you are
showing child pornography.”

Bollaert allegedly would extort victims by replying with a
changemyreputation.com email address and offering to remove the content for a
fee ranging from $300 to $350, which could be paid using an online PayPal
account referenced in the message.

According to court documents, the suspect told investigators he made
about $900 per month from advertising on the site. Records obtained from his
changemyreputation.com PayPal account indicate that he received payments
totaling tens of thousands of dollars, authorities said.

The arrest came at the conclusion of a six-month investigation by the
attorney general's eCrime Unit, created two years ago to identify and prosecute
identity-theft offenses, cybercrimes and other high-tech illegal activities.

“Online predators who profit from the extortion of private photos will
be investigated and prosecuted for this reprehensible and illegal internet
activity,” Harris said.

Categories: KUSI