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Poetic Justice: Mugshots Are Circulating of the Owners Arrested for Extortion

Of all the heinous, offensive, and awful business models that aim to profit off the suffering of others, truly ranks among the most outwardly terrible.

The basic premise of the website involved posting booking photographs and arrest details from different department websites online. If individuals wanted their pictures “unpublished” so they could avoid the stigma and discrimination that accompanies a criminal history (images were shared even when the charges in question were dismissed or mistaken), they were directed to another website where they had to pay a fee. These fees allegedly ran from $399 to remove one mugshot to up to $15,000 for a profile. For three years, the site had apparently extorted more then 2 million dollars from 5,703 people.

The sites are still operational, with their disturbing FAQs and an awful “Testimony” section.

The practice is nothing short of exploitative, and the stories from individuals struggling to find jobs because they were busted with less than a gram of weed at 18, or who were wrongly convicted of a crime is nothing short of tragic. The four operators, Thomas Keesee, Sahar Sarid, Kishore Vidya Bhanvnanie, and David Usdan, were arrested “on charges of extortion, money laundering, and identity theft.” Keesee and Sarid’s mugshots are now being shared on the internet.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said, “This pay-for-removal scheme attempts to profit off of someone else’s humiliation…Those who can’t afford to pay into this scheme to have their information removed pay the price when they look for a job, housing, or try to build relationships with others. This is exploitation, plain and simple.”

(via Buzzfeed, image:

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