The California Attorney General has charged 27-year-old Kevin Bollaert with conspiracy and extortion, among other things in a 31-count indictment. But NBC 7 has learned a Chicago attorney filed a civil suite against Bollaert and the website months before this.
A San Diego man is accused of running a “revenge porn” scheme by posting revealing photos of women online then making them pay hundreds of dollars to have the photos removed.
Kevin Bollaert, 27, is charged with 31 felony counts of conspiracy, identity theft and extortion involving 16 women. Bollaert posted $50,000 bail and was released from jail Tuesday night.
This case, which is first of its kind, was filed by state Attorney General Kamala Harris on Tuesday.
According to court documents, Bollaert ran the website YouGotPosted.com, where investigators say he posted more than 10,000 sexually explicit photos of women. The site included links to the women’s social media accounts.
Bollaert allegedly received the photos from ex-boyfriends and ex-husbands of the women.
The arrest warrant says that Bollaert also created ChangeMyReputation.com, where he allegedly charged the women $300 to $350 have their pictures removed from YouGotPosted.com
Both websites have been shut down.
Investigators traced Bollaert’s activities to a mail drop on Garnet Avenue in Pacific Beach. His last known address was in the 1600-block of Hotel Circle. Database records indicate he spent just two months there in 2010.
According to investigators, Bollaert made $900 a month off advertising on his websites and thousands more from women desperate to have their pictures removed.
One woman emailed Bollaert:
Why others can ruin lives like this is beyond me. But please! Remove my photos.
Another alleged victim begged:
PLEASE HELP! I am scared for my life! People are calling my work place and they obtained that information from this site.
In the arrest warrant, Bollaert is quoted as telling investigators: "I feel bad about the whole thing and like, I just don't want to do it anymore. I mean, I know a lot of people are getting screwed over like, on the site. Like, lives are getting ruined."
NBC 7 has learned that a Chicago attorney filed a civil suit against Bollaert months before these charges were brought.
Last July, Atty. Charles Mudd sued Bollaert and his website for posting 14 nude photos of his client, her name and where she works.
"She is a young woman who is just starting her adult life and career," Mudd said in a phone interview. "It is a form of bullying. It is a form of extortion. It's horrific to them."
In October, a new law went into effect in California that prohibits posting identifiable nude photos online after a breakup, punishable with a $1,000 fine or six months in jail.
"I applaud California. I think the statute they have out there is fantastic," Mudd said from Chicago. "I think there needs to be a movement to protecting individuals."
Bollaert’s first court appearance was scheduled for Dec. 17.