Alleged 'revenge porn' website operator arrested for extortion
SAN DIEGO -- Investigators say the operator of a "revenge porn" website was arrested Tuesday for allegedly posting explicit photographs of women without their consent and then blackmailing them to remove the images from the Internet.
Kevin Christopher Bollaert, 27, of San Diego, was charged with 31 felony counts of conspiracy, identity theft and extortion, according to documents filed in San Diego County Superior Court. His arrest followed a six-month investigation by the California Attorney General's eCrime unit.
The Justice Department says Bollaert facilitated the posting of more than 100,000 sexually explicit photos and then charged victims up to $350 to remove the illicit images.
Attorney General Kamala D. Harris said the photographs usually came from ex-boyfriends who sought revenge following a relationship. In some cases, however, the sexually explicit images were stolen or hacked and then sent to Bollaert.
The 27-year-old would then post the picture on his website. The site, which he created in December 2012, required that the photo include the victim's full name, location, age and Facebook profile link.
Officials say Bollaert created a second website, www.changemyreputation.org, in October 2012, which he used when individuals contacted his other website requesting that the content be removed from the site.
The suspect would allegedly extort victims by offering to remove the content for a fee ranging from $299.99 to $350, which he would collect through PayPal.
Bollaert told investigators that he made around $900 per month from advertising on the site. Records obtained from his PayPal account showed that he received payments totaling tens of thousands of dollars.
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."
Individuals who may have been victims of revenge porn websites were urged to file a complaint with the California Attorney General's Office.
arrest, identity theft, sex crimes, san diego, california news
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