California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra has filed extortion and money laundering charges against the owners of MugShots.com, the website that gathers mugshots of people who have been arrested and posts them online. Mugshots.com charges the individuals whose mugshots are posted on their website a fee to remove the mugshot photos from their website. The defendants named in the complaint are Sahar Sarid, Kishore Vidya Bhavnanie, Thomas Keesee, and David Usdan.
According to the Sacramento Bee, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office “is targeting Mugshots.com, which pulls photos and identifying information about criminal suspects from law enforcement departments around the country. The site charges a “de-publishing fee” to remove someone from its archives, according to Becerra’s office.”
Mugshots of Thomas Keesee and Sahar Sarid, owners of MugShots.com, courtesy of WPTV. Mugshots by PBSO/ BSO.
Based on what I can tell, the biggest concern for California’s Attorney General is that people who have been arrested and wrongfully accused of a crime are featured on Mugshots.com. And, in order to be removed from the website, one has to pay a fee. The California AG claims that the owners of MugShots.com have “collected at least $64,000 in removal fees from 175 Californians.” They’re also “working with law enforcement in Broward and Palm Beach counties in Florida, and state police in Connecticut and Pennsylvania.”
The Sacbee article states that the owners of MugShots.com were difficult to find: the “business was registered in the Caribbean island of Nevis, its domain name was registered in Belize and its internet hosting company was based in Australia.”
You can read the official indictment and the press release here: https://oag.ca.gov/news/press-releases/attorney-general-becerra-announces-criminal-charges-against-four-individuals
The California AG encourages others to come forward that have been a victim of Mugshots.com: “If you believe you are a victim of Mugshots.com, you are encouraged to file a police report with your local police department so you will have documentation of your complaint. If your booking photo was taken in California, or you were in California when you contacted Mugshots.com to “de-publish” your information, please contact the Attorney General’s eCrime Unit at [email protected] Out-of-state complaints can be reported to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) https://www.ic3.gov.”