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'Revenge Porn' Website Lands Creator In Jail

The website ugotposted.com allowed people to create anonymous, public posts of private explicit photographs without the subjects' permission, court documents allege.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris. Photo courtesy attorney general's office.
California Attorney General Kamala Harris. Photo courtesy attorney general's office.

A man was arrested Tuesday 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 allegedly 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 allegedly 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.   

– City News Service

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