A man accused of posting sexually explicit images of women to a website only to then charge the women to remove them argues he's not guilty of a crime because he simply received the images from the women's ex-boyfriends.
Kevin Bollaert appeared in a San Diego courtroom for a pre-trial hearing, facing felony counts of conspiracy, identity theft and extortion.
Sixteen women claim Bollaert took their photos, posted them to the website YouGotPosted.com and then asked them to pay hundreds of dollars to have the pictures removed.
In court Tuesday, defense attorneys argued the images and website may be distasteful or offensive but does not rise to the level of being illegal.
Investigators say Bollaert posted more than 10,000 sexually explicit photos of women on YouGotPosted.com.
According to an arrest warrant, he then created ChangeMyReputation.com, where he allegedly charged the women $300 to $350 have their pictures removed from YouGotPosted.com.
Bollaert’s attorneys argued their client did not commit identity theft because he did not willfully seek out the identities of the women involved. Rather, they say, he was given the photos, email information and phone numbers by the ex-boyfriends of the women.
They also claim their client’s actions do not meet the legal definition of extortion because the photos on his website were already exposed online.
Investigators traced Bollaert to a mail drop on Garnet Avenue in Pacific Beach and an address on Hotel Circle in Mission Valley. 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.
Both websites have been shut down.
The so-called “revenge porn” case is the first of its kind, filed by state Attorney General Kamala Harris.
There is now a California law that prohibits posting identifiable nude photos online after a breakup, punishable with a $1,000 fine or six months in jail.