Revenge-Porn Site Founder Guilty on 27 Counts
Calif. man charged women to have photos removed
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 3, 2015 5:00 AM CST
Maryland lawmakers are silhouetted during a news conference to announce a bill that would criminalize revenge porn.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

(Newser) – A San Diego man charged with running a so-called revenge-porn website where people posted nude pictures of their ex-lovers—and then charging the victims to take down the images—has been convicted of 27 felony charges. Kevin Bollaert, 28, was found guilty yesterday of identity theft and extortion and faces up to 20 years in prison. The jury was unable to reach verdicts on two charges of identity theft and conspiracy, and a judge declared a mistrial on the counts. It was believed to be the first conviction of a revenge-porn website operator, although two months ago a Los Angeles man who posted a topless photo of his ex-girlfriend on Facebook was sentenced to a year in jail for violating California's new revenge-porn law.

Prosecutors said that in 2012 and 2013, Bollaert allowed people to anonymously post more than 10,000 images, mainly of women, on his now-defunct ugotposted.com site without the knowledge of those in the pictures. The victims' names, cities where they lived, and other information such as links to their Facebook profiles also were posted, authorities alleged. In what prosecutors described as essentially a blackmail scheme, Bollaert ran another now-defunct website, changemyreputation.com, where victims could go and be charged up to $350 to have the images removed. Prosecutors said he earned tens of thousands of dollars from the scheme, which some victims testified had ruined their lives.