Revenge-porn website operator Kevin Bollaert guilty of identity theft and extortion

XXX. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

XXX. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.The more than 10,000 victims of the revenge porn site ugotposted.com – which posted those individuals’ stolen, explicit photos; their addresses; and links to their Facebook accounts – got their own revenge on Monday.

That’s when a San Diego County Superior Court found Kevin Bollaert, 28, guilty of 27 counts, including felony charges of identity theft and extortion.

He’s now facing a maximum of 20 years in prison. His sentencing is set for 3 April.

Bollaert was running the revenge site, since taken down, in conjunction with another site called changemyreputation.com.

When victims pleaded with Bollaert to have their photos removed, sending email to the main site, he wouldn’t reply.

Rather, he’d milk his victims for payoff money, sending an email directing them to a site where they’d be extorted for a fee of between $299 and $350 in exchange for getting the photos taken down.

Bollaert’s conviction is believed to be the first of a revenge porn website operator, although he wasn’t convicted under California’s new revenge porn law; rather, the charges were identity theft and extortion.

The first conviction under California’s new revenge porn law took place in October, when a Los Angeles man, Noe Iniguez, was arrested and convicted.

Iniguez had hidden behind a pseudonym to post topless photos of his ex to her employer’s Facebook page, where he called the woman “drunk” and a “slut” in his posts, urging the company to fire her.

He was sentenced to one year in jail and three years of probation, ordered to attend domestic violence counseling, and ordered to stay away from his victim.

Another infamous revenge-porn website operator, Hunter Moore, was convicted in January 2014 on 7 counts of aggravated identity theft, but the charges centered around his hacking to get at victims’ photos.

Craig Brittain, owner of another revenge porn website, IsAnybodyDown, settled out of court with the Federal Trade Commission last week, and avoided even paying a fine, despite making around $12,000 from his victims.

California’s law was enacted in October 2013, after Bollaert was charged.

It makes it a misdemeanor to post identifiable nude pictures of someone else online without their permission and with the intent of causing serious emotional distress or humiliation.

A spokesman for the attorney general’s office told the Associated Press in an email on Tuesday that Bollaert’s actions were more serious and merited more than the one year in prison permitted for a misdemeanor.

Moreover, the revenge porn law doesn’t address the crime of extortion, he said.

Prosecutors said that Bollaert had earned tens of thousands of dollars from the scheme of tormenting victims and then charging them to make it stop.

The criminal complaint named more than two dozen people as victims.

Some victims testified during the trial that they suffered humiliation and fear when their private photos were posted. As the complaint detailed, and prosecutor Tawnya Austin told jurors, the victims reported being harassed by people who tried to contact them through Facebook or by email.

One woman testified that it ruined her reputation and her relationship with her family:

They think I brought shame on them.

We’re glad to hear that the San Diego jury took that misplaced shame and put it on the man who operated this vicious scheme.

That’s where it belongs.

Image of XXX key courtesy of Shutterstock.