Culture

Police arrest alleged operator of ‘Revenge Porn’ website

 
It has been a topic in and out classrooms, political arenas and courtrooms; but the largest action taken against an alleged owner of a “revenge porn” website has been taken out against the owner of “ugotposted.com”.
 
It was the California Attorney General’s office that made the announcement earlier today (Tuesday) that the owner of the website has been arrested under several severe charges. The website in question contained over 10,000 photographs (almost all of them sexually explicit) and had posted these pictures online along with the person’s contact information and identity. All of this without the subject’s consent or most of the time knowledge that it ever happened.
 
At the center of all of this is 27-year-old Kevin Christopher Bollaert, who police believe ran and operated the website. Among his crimes that he is being charged for, Bollaert faces charges for posting the photos and the contact information without convent, and extorting over $10,000 from the victims who had contacted him to remove the content. This had apparently taken place from December 2012 until September 2013 of this year.
 
These are serious charges, including several felonies. Up to 28 counts of identity theft are among the charges, and two counts of extortion; including another count of conspiracy. It is unclear at this time who the other members of the alleged ‘conspiracy’ charges are, but it is believed to be individuals that submitted photos and gathered contact information for Bollaert. In California it is considered identity-theft if you use a person’s personal information for any illegal purpose, this includes to get money or services.
 
In a statement to the press Harris said, “This website published intimate photos of unsuspecting victims and turned their public humiliation and betrayal into a commodity with the potential to devastate lives.”
 
As part of the “lure” of the site, one couldn’t upload images without providing the full-list of contact information for the individual in the picture (name, address, age and social media profiles) this according to court documents. Those were filed by Brian Cardwell, a special agent for the California Department of Justice’s eCrime Unit division.
 
There is a sister-site involved in this scheme, according to reports, anyone wishing to have their contact info erased would have to go through “changemyreputation.com” another site owned by Bollaert according to police.
 
This sister site could charge users up to $350 to erase the photos, even though they were owned by the same person. Court documents claim that thousands of people came forth to have their identities removed from the site. Reports indicate that one user stated that she was, “getting nonstop harassing messages,” while others said they had their lives completely destroyed.
 
In an interview with Cardwell and another agent on Sept. 18 the accused said, “Yeah, I realize like this is not a good situation Yeah, I realize like this is not a good situation.” He also stated, “I feel bad about the whole thing and like I just don’t want to do it anymore. I mean I know a lot of people are getting screwed over like on the site. Like their lives are getting ruined.”
 
According to other court reports, Bollaert shut down ugotposted.com voluntarily, telling agents, “at the beginning, it was fun and entertaining, but now it’s just like ruining my life.”
 
Gov. Jerry Brown signed a new law into effect on Oct. 1, because of the timing this website will not be charged under those revisions. As of this article, Bollaert is currently being detained in San Diego County jail on $50,000 bail, which he has not posted at this time.
 
more info: ca.gov