Kevin Bollaert Gets 18 Years In Prison For Revenge Porn Site Extortion

Posted: Apr 5 2015, 11:55am CDT | by , in News | Also on the Geek Mind

 

Kevin Bollaert gets 18 years in prison for revenge porn site extortion
Credit: Getty Images
  • Faced up to 20 years.
  • Judge's choice words.
  • Revenge porn consequences.
 

Kevin Bollaert's sentencing after a February conviction included victim testimony and parental pleas. But what precedence does this set for extortive websites?

USA Today is reporting that Kevin Bollaert, a San Diego man who operated a "revenge porn" site, has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for 21 counts of identity theft and 6 counts of extortion.

The California man was convicted extortion in February by the San Diego Superior Court. His now-defunct site yougotposed.com allowed people to upload compromising, explicit pictures of other people for revenge and then profiting from the removal. Bollaert would then charge victims between $300 and $350 to have the photos taken down, reports the Los Angeles Times.

USA Today also notes that the webmaster earned approximately $30,000 from the removal charges, according to prosecutors. And the San Diego Union-Tribune obtained information that he personally made approximately $900 a month in ad revenue for the 10,000 or so hosted pictures. In order to proceed, the victims were sent to a sister site to pay to have the pictures removed.

Bollaert actively encouraged the posting of pictures and information to the site, including names and identifying material if the pictures were not easily identifiable by face.

On Friday, Attorney General Kamala Harris warned those operating sites that post naked pictures of women and charging for removal will face severe consequences.
"Sitting behind a computer, committing what is essentially a cowardly and criminal act, will not shield predators from the law or jail."

Victims of the extortion were fired, embarrassed, and even lead to one attempted suicide. All total, 21 victims testified during the trial and explained the impact, says KFMB-TV.

And the Los Angeles Times reports that one victim ended up receiving 400 messages across social media. The victim testified that "it's a daily struggle to get my life together" after having to drop out of college and seek help in a mental hospital.

The trauma is very real for those facing condemnation, including one that told KFMB-TV that her own mother refuses to talk to her after the photos surfaced. The San Diego U-T noted a victim became homeless after her support system abandoned her.

While the internet provides more opportunities for exploitation, Harris also pointed out that government agencies are catching up. "We will continue to be vigilant and investigate and prosecute those who commit these deplorable acts."

Seven of the victims showed up for the sentencing hearing, offering statements of what the defendant’s actions had personally cost them.

The San Diego paper also reports that Bollaert’s parents pleaded with Judge David Gill for leniency after their son expressed remorse for creating the site. Deputy Public Defender Emily Rose-Weber pointed out the statements as well.

His father told the court they “do not condone what he did,” but still love him and believe “he is a good person.” The victims may disagree. The defendant remained largely unemotional throughout the trial and sentencing, but did show some emotional when Mr. Bollaert spoke.

However, the judge was not swayed and added that the former site owner must pay restitution to the victims, with the amount to be determined at a later time.

Judge Gill referred to the defendant’s interview with state attorneys, paying particular attention to lack of remorse. “At the beginning it was kind of fun and entertaining, but now it’s kind of ruining my life.” He also dismissed claims by defense that the 28-year-old was simply following the latest trends since communication between victim and webmaster was traced to December 2012.

He faced up to 20 years in prison.

Last year in an unrelated case, Kevin Bollaert was convicted of using a post office box instead of a physical address when buying 31 guns. So this is not the first time the defendant has faced consequences for actions, but he will be serving this sentence between bars for at least a decade.

Due to the lack of non-violent crime, Bollaert will serve the sentence in the San Diego County jail and will only be eligible for parole after serving half his time. Probation was “completely off the table,” according to the judge.

Gill believes the defendant “deserves a large dose of punishment, frankly.” The sentence should be a start.

And this case may deter other site operators from callously adding photos to their websites. Online extortion is beginning to have serious consequences. And those posting the explicit pictures after a breakup could face up to a $1,000 fine or six months in jail, according to NBC San Diego.

 

Sources: NBC San Diego, San Diego Union Tribune, USA Today

This story may contain affiliate links.

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