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‘Revenge Porn’ Site Operator Arrested: YouGotPosted, and HeGotBusted

| December 10, 2013
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Title page from state's criminal complaint against alleged operator of revenge porn website.

Title page from state’s criminal complaint against alleged operator of revenge porn website.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris has announced the arrest of a San Diego man who allegedly ran a “revenge porn” website as part of an extortion scheme in which victims would pay up to $350 each to have their nude or sexually explicit images taken down.

Kevin Christopher Bollaert, 27, was taken into custody by state Department of Justice agents and charged with 31 counts of conspiracy, identity theft and extortion. He was released on $50,000 bail.

The state’s complaint says that over nine months beginning last December, Bollaert and associates created a website called YouGotPosted (ugotposted.com) and put up more than 10,000 “private photographs containing nude and explicit images of individuals” along with the IDs of those pictured.

In a press release, Harris said of Bollaert’s arrest:

“This website published intimate photos of unsuspecting victims and turned their public humiliation and betrayal into a commodity with the potential to devastate lives. Online predators that profit from the extortion of private photos will be investigated and prosecuted for this reprehensible and illegal internet activity.”

Bollaert could face prison time and fines if convicted.

Today’s charges are just the latest in a series of legal entanglements for Bollaert and YouGotPosted. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports: “In an unrelated federal case, he is charged with making false statements — giving a false home address — while acquiring 31 firearms from different gun dealers in San Diego. He entered a guilty plea in November and is to be sentenced Jan. 17.”

Earlier this year, the company was sued twice in federal court — once in Nevada, once in Michigan — over trademark and copyright infringement claims. In the Nevada case, YouGotPosted failed to respond to trademark allegations, then was held in contempt and hit with a $300,000 default judgment. The suits named both Bollaert and Eric Chanson, a New Jersey man described as Bollaert’s partner in setting up the alleged YouGotPosted extortion scheme, and Chanson’s parents.

An affidavit in support of today’s arrest warrant from state Department of Justice special agent Brian Cardwell describes how YouGotPosted works:

When a user (poster) of Ugotposted posts images to the site, the site requires the poster to add a link identifying the posted individual’s (victim’s) Facebook page along with the victim’s full name, location, and age. Ugotposted also allows for other types of social media links to be added, such as Twitter and Tumblr. Ugotposted allows Internet users to access the website, post comments about the victims, which most are degrading, and view the victims’ posted personal identifiable information.

And this, according to the warrant, is how the alleged extortion scheme operated:

Bollaert extorted money from victims that were posted on Ugotposted by directing the victims to the website changemyreputation.com and asking for money to removed the images from Ugotposted. There is evidence that shows Bollaert and Eric Chanson, a former business partner of Bollaert, created the websites. When a victim inquired about removing the images from Ugotposted, they would not receive a response; however, Ugotposted hosted a link to the webpage changemyreputation.com and for a fee, the images would be removed from Ugotposted.

Cardwell’s affidavit also recounts a Sept. 18, 2013, interview with Bollaert held in the community of La Jolla, in northern San Diego:

He stated that he owned Ugotposted and that he had recently shut the site down. Bollaert stated he and his friend Eric Chanson started the site and Chanson has not had any action with the site since December. Bollaert stated, “At the beginning, it was fun and entertaining, but now it’s just like ruining my life.” … I asked Bollaert did he understand what it was doing to the people being posted on by requiring the full name, residing city, and link to the person’s Facebook page. Bollaert stated, “Yeah, I realize like this is not a good situation. 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.”

The site’s impact can be judged from the experience of 14 “Jane Doe” victims listed in Cardwell’s affidavits. The victims, all women, all reportedly told investigators of nonstop harassment that followed their pictures appearing on YouGotPosted. The affidavit also includes emails to YouGotPosted from those begging, or demanding, to have images removed. Here’s one:

… This website is an absolute disgrace. It makes me sick to my stomach you run this as your little family business. I had pictures posted as of last night … I demand that you delete them now. I have gone to the police, I’ve had a restraining order put in place because of this site, my phone has been going off EVERY TWO MINUTES with strange men sending inappropriate things to me. It’s disgusting. … I don’t know what gets you off about ruining people’s lives, but I was under aged in the photos posted of me so yes, you are showing child pornography. Delete every single one of the photos with my information.

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Category: Law

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About the Author ()

Dan Brekke has worked in media ever since Nixon's first term, when newspapers were still using hot type. He had moved on to online news by the time Bill Clinton met Monica Lewinsky. He's been at KQED since 2007, is an enthusiastic practitioner of radio and online journalism and will talk to you about absolutely anything. Reach Dan Brekke at dbrekke@kqed.org.
  • Lisa

    People that do things like this regardless of profit are the lowest of the scum. Are their lives so worthless and boring that they choose to humiliate and degrade others with pics and info that the woman shared not knowing the person they shared those private photos with were sewer scum as well? This is good reason to never show photos and if you just have to…no facial shots!!!!

    • zarnon

      Where’s Kevin Bollaert’s address and phone number?

  • thegreatcorntrollio

    I just glanced at the myex page the other day and was totally shocked at this kind of libel being allowed. Usually in major media every single photo must be cleared. I cannot believe that websites that post defamatory material are then allowed to extort the users. These sites have links to pay 500 bucks or so to remove the photos, and what’s to stop them from being posted again. The 20 year internet publishing cycle must catch-up with the realities of legitimate media. I would jail these perps and the website owners for a minimum 5 year sentence federal no parole. Revenge porn is about the worst thing I’ve ever seen on the internet. Please pass a federal law now protecting people from these humiliating shakedowns. Not just the pictures but the defamatory copy that accompanies them. This is outrageous.

    • thegreathornyguyio

      I missed it. Thanks for the tip on where to find more.

    • zarnon

      ALL of them should be taken down. If it’s not you , you don’t get to post it. You want to get revenge on your ex? Lose weight, socialize, get in shape, get a better looking/acting partner. The only people who’ve lost their expectation of privacy are those in the public eye and convicted felons.

  • ConcernedCitizen

    Good times with that website. Every person there deserved the humiliation, idiots.

    • zarnon

      So anyone that ever shares a revealing photo to someone deserves no expectation of privacy? Yet they’re the idiots. The Dunning-Kruger effect well represented here.

    • waraji

      If you could somehow manage to make a life for yourself and drop your drama attachment to that website. There is a HUGE world of way more productive and interesting things than those kinds of websites.