Legal News

Owners of Mugshots.Com Arrested for Extortion
Download PDF
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading...

Thomas Keesee (left) and Sahar Sarid (right). Photo courtesy of Ars Technica.

Summary: The owners of the website, Mugshots.com, were arrested on Wednesday for extorting people who had been arrested. 

On Wednesday, the owners of the website, Mugshots.com, finally got a taste of their own medicine when they were arrested and their mugshots were plastered over the internet.

  
What
Where


Mugshots.com publishes embarrassing mugshot photos but will take them down if people pay the website owners a fee. The site said that they were providing a public service by releasing arrest photos, which are public records, but some who were falsely arrested or who were arrested with no charges filed said that their photos were still online unless they paid a fee. The California Attorney General likens this to extortion, and this week, the website’s owners were arrested in Florida, according to Ars Technica. 

The two owners, Sahar Sarid and Thomas Keesee, were charged with extortion, money laundering, and identity theft. Two other men, Kishore Vidya Bhavnanie and David Usdan, were also charged.

“This pay-for-removal scheme attempts to profit off of someone else’s humiliation,” Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement. “Those who can’t afford to pay into this scheme to have their information removed pay the price when they look for a job, housing, or try to build relationships with others. This is exploitation, plain and simple.”

Get JD Journal in Your Mail

Subscribe to our FREE daily news alerts and get the latest updates on the most happening events in the legal, business, and celebrity world. You also get your daily dose of humor and entertainment!!




Sarid and Keessee were arrested in south Florida on Wednesday, and Bhavnanie was arraigned in Pennsylvania. Usdan is also in custody.

Ars Technica said that Bhavanie’s bail was set at $1.86 million.



The four men allegedly “extracted more than $64,000 in removal fees from approximately 175 individuals with billing addresses in California. Nationally, the defendants took more than $2 million in removal fees from approximately 5,703 individuals for the same period,” according to the California AG’s office.

The California AG said that the business model of Mugshots.com was “permeated with fraud,” and the 29-page affidavit listed numerous personal stories of people who had tried to get their pictures removed from the site but to no avail.

On example was Jesse from Sonoma County, California, who said that his 2013 mugshot was published and this picture prevented him from obtaining future employment. He said that he was arrested but never charged with a crime.

Jesse said that when he contacted Mugshots.com to remove the picture he was directed to a sister site called unpublishedarrest.com. He said that he called someone from that site and was told there was a $399 fee to remove his mugshot.

Mugshots.com was previously sued by an Ohio attorney, Scott Ciolek, who told Ars Technica, “Because of the nature of this and other operations like it, the civil remedies are limited and economically unavailable to the vast majority of people. It seems only the state or federal agencies have the resources necessary to pursue these operations. But once the case is resolved the evidence that they have collected will be available to use by the other affected people around the country.”

What do you think of the charges against the owners of Mugshots.com? Let us know in the comments below.



 

Interesting Legal Sites You May Like


BCG FEATURED JOB

Locations:

Keyword:



Search Now

Mid-level Litigation Associate Attorney

USA-MD-Baltimore

Baltimore office of our client seeks mid-level litigation associate attorney with 3+ years of experi...

Apply Now

Litigation Associate Attorney

USA-SC-Columbia

Columbia office is seeking a commercial litigation attorney with 2-4 years of experience.

Apply Now

Junior Employment Litigation Attorney

USA-CA-San Francisco

San Francisco office is seeking an attorney with 2-3 years of employment litigation, class action or...

Apply Now

Research and Writing Associate Attorney

USA-TX-Dallas

Dallas office of our client seeks research and writing associate attorney with 5+ years of experienc...

Apply Now

RELEVANT JOBS

Associate Attorney

USA-CA-Sacramento

A civil plaintiff’s law firm is hiring for an associate attorney, preferably with strong resea...

Apply now

Associate Attorney

USA-TX-Sugar Land

Insurance Defense firm seeks an Associate Attorney with a MINIMUM of 3-5 years\' experience in litig...

Apply now

Associate Attorney

USA-TX-San Antonio

One of Texas\'s largest Personal Injury Law firm seeks a highly motivated associate attorney with 3-...

Apply now

Associate Attorney

USA-TX-Dallas

One of Texas\'s largest Personal Injury Law firm seeks a highly motivated associate attorney with 3-...

Apply now

SEARCH IN ARCHIVE

To Top