Four crooks band together, ‘Pretend to provide a public service but make money by victimizing people with mugshots’
Sleaze operators Sahar Sarid, Thomas Keesee, Kishore Vidya Bhavnanie, and Davis Usdan a dose of their own medicine!
Owners of Mugshots.com exposed as their mugs now circulate the internet after they made millions in their humiliating photo operation
The four alleged owners of Mugshots.com have been arrested – Sarid, Keesee, Vidya Bhavnanie, and Usdan were charged with extortion, money laundering & identity theft
California court Wednesday issued arrest warrant seeking to extradite the four to the state for prosecution
Mugshots.com posts booking photos and removes them only if a fee is paid
They extorted more than $2million in removal fees from victims over a three-year period
They made millions off publishing mugshots online, demanding exorbitant removal fees from their subjects.
Now the mugs of Sahar Sarid and Thomas Keesee, two of the four alleged owners of Mugshots.com, are circulating the internet after they were arrested on charges of extortion, money laundering and identity theft, Digg reports.
The website owners believed to be Sahar Sarid, Thomas Keesee, Kishore Vidya Bhavnanie, and Davis Usdan were charged on Wednesday for their notorious website that posts booking photographs and arrest details mined from police websites and removes them only if a fee is paid, according to Arstechnica.
The four alleged owners of Mugshots.com have been arrested after being charged with extortion, money laundering and identity theft on Wednesday, two of the alleged owners. two of the men, Sahar Sarid and Thomas Keesee have been arrested in south Florida.
Bhavnanie was arraigned by a Pennsylvania state judge also on Wednesday. His bail was reportedly set at $1.86 million.
According to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office, Davis Usdan is also in custody.
The foursome prosecutors said, made more than $64,000 in removal fees over a three-year period from 175 individuals in California, according to a press release.
“This pay-for-removal scheme attempts to profit off of someone else’s humiliation,” said Becerra in a statement.
“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.”
Across the nation they raked in more than $2million in removal fees from 5,703 individuals.
‘This pay-for-removal scheme attempts to profit off of someone else’s humiliation,’ Attorney General Becerra said in a statement.
‘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,’ he added.
However they were tracked down by the Northern California Computer Crimes Task Force, a group focused on tackling cyber crime.
The defendants all currently reside in other states and the California Attorney General’s Office is seeking their extradition to prosecute the case.
Bhavnanie was arraigned by a Pennsylvania state judge on Wednesday with bail reportedly set at $1.86million.
The California Attorney General’s office spokeswoman Tania Mercado said Usdan is also in custody.
All four were charged on Wednesday with extortion, money laundering and identity theft.
In the 29-page affidavit, prosecutors call the website a ‘business permeated with fraud’.
Arrest warrants were issued for the four by the California Attorney General’s Office for Sarid, Keesee, Kishore Vidya Bhavnanie, and Davis Usdan. Above is the arrest warrant for Thomas Keesee
The four men were charged for running Mugshots.com, a website that posts booking photos and removes them only if a fee is paid, Sarid’s warrant is displayed above
The court filing includes the accounts of people who claim the website has jeopardized their lives and careers.
One example comes from a man named Jesse T of Sonoma County California who said he was arrested and held in jail for 12 days before being released and not charged with a crime in September 2013.
A year later he found his booking photo on the website which he claims inhibited him from getting a job, despite applying to 100 openings in construction, electrical and manufacturing.
When he phoned the website he was told it would cost $399 to remove the photo. When he told the man on the line such a practice was illegal, he laughed and hung up.
After multiple unsuccessful phone calls, Jesse said he answered a phone call from an unlisted number and recorded it on July 23, 2016.
When he answered he heard a man say: ‘-this third time tell you f***** b****, we never answer your calls again you’ve been permanently published, f***** b****.’
As of Saturday the website is still running.
Sahar Sarid made a statement on his website saying he stopped working with the website in 2013 and now works as a web developer in Phuket, Thailand.
‘My involvement with Mugshots.com and related entities ended in December 2013. Prior to that, my limited role with these ventures was always as an unpaid consultant. I never got paid nor wanted to be paid by anyone. I was not an owner or an officer of any business related to Mugshots.com,’ he wrote.
‘Mugshots.com makes public arrest records easier to find. I support these ideas and ideals,’ he added.
This isn’t the first time the website has landed in hot water. The New York Times reports that Maxwell Birnbaum who was arrested as a college freshman on drug charges also fell victim to mugshot’s blackmail.
In 2016 Mugshots.com was sued in Illinois court by two victims of the website who said an incorrect listing on the site placed a victim ‘a month away from homelessness constantly’.
A total of 18 states have passed laws banning mugshot websites like Mugshots.com from charging removal fees, however the websites ignore the laws or find ways to circumvent them, according to Digg.