A California man convicted of operating a now-infamous “revenge porn” website, UGotPosted[dot]com, has been sentenced to 18 years in jail.
Prior to his Friday sentencing, Kevin Bollaert, 28, was found guilty in February of six counts of extortion and 21 counts of identity theft – crimes he carried out while operating the site between December 2012 and September 2013. Revenge porn websites are known for hosting sexually explicit images or videos of victims without their consent, which are often obtained from former-significant others or vindictive acquaintances.
According to a press release from California Attorney General Kamala Harris's office, Bollaert, who also ran ChangeMyReputation[dot]com, created the second website in October 2012, after he started getting requests to remove content from UGotPosted[dot]com.
“Bollaert would extort victims by replying with a changemyreputation[dot]com email address and offering to remove the content for a fee ranging from $250 to $350, which could be paid using an online PayPal account referenced in the emails,” the Friday release said. “Bollaert told investigators that he made around $900 per month from advertising on the site, and records obtained from his changemyreputation[dot]com PayPal account, indicate that he received payments totaling approximately $30,000.”
The attorney general's office said Bollaert was eventually arrested after its eCrime unit carried out a six-month investigation. According to a Friday report by the Los Angeles Times, Bollaert was also ordered Friday to pay $15,000 in restitution to victims as well as a $10,000 fine. The judge also ruled that Bollaert could serve his time in a county jail as opposed to in a state prison.
News of Bollaert's sentencing comes alongside one senator's appeal to the FBI to “respond swiftly and appropriately to reports of nonconsensual disclosure of sexually explicit images and videos,” which might be categorized as revenge porn offenses.
On Friday, Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., wrote a letter to FBI Director James Comey (PDF) requesting that the mostly female victims of these crimes are able to report such activities to federal law enforcement, and that they “receive expeditious assistance and are treated with sensitivity."
Given how time-sensitive these cases are, he also requested that Comey provide information on all legal authorities available to the FBI for these types of investigations, and whether there are any “limitations” in existing law that would prevent the FBI from conducting investigations and making arrests.
Sen. Franken requested that the FBI respond to his inquiries by May 8.