Mugshots.com operators charged

| May 20, 2018 | 29 Comments

According to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, four people operating the website Mugshots.com have been charged with extortion, money laundering, and identity theft for their “pay for removal” business.

The website mines data from police and sheriffs’ department websites to collect individuals’ names, booking photos and charges, then republishes the information online without the individuals’ knowledge or consent. Once subjects request that their booking photos be removed, they are routed to a secondary website called Unpublisharrest.com and charged a “de-publishing” fee to have the content removed. Mugshots.com does not remove criminal record information until a subject pays the fee. This is the case even if the subject had charges dismissed or had been arrested due to mistaken identity or law enforcement error. Those subjects who cannot pay the fee may subsequently be denied housing, employment, or other opportunities because their booking photo is readily available on the internet.

“This pay-for-removal scheme attempts to profit off of someone else’s humiliation,” said Attorney General Becerra. “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.”

The defendants named in the complaint are Sahar Sarid, Kishore Vidya Bhavnanie, Thomas Keesee, and David Usdan. They are the alleged owners and operators of Mugshots.com. Over a three-year period, the defendants extracted more than $64,000 in removal fees from approximately 175 individuals with billing addresses in California. Nationally, the defendants took more than $2 million in removal fees from approximately 5,703 individuals for the same period.

The AG’s office is attempting to extradite the four who all live outside California.

Arrest warrants were served with the assistance of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, working with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office; the Connecticut State Police, working with the Connecticut Division of Criminal Justice – State’s Attorney’s Office; and the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General.

Category: Crime

Comments (29)

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  1. Jeff LPH 3, 63-66 says:

    Gee, they were only trying to make a living. By the way, check out the “MUG” of the guy on the right.

  2. AnotherPat says:

    Check out one of the Florida culprits extensive arrest records (Thomas H Keesee, picture on the right).

    http://karenlankford.blogspot.com/2016/12/thomas-h-keesee-from-mugshotscom-arrest.html?m=1

    Thank you for posting this, Jonn. Both 2/ 17 Air Cav and Perry G. had interesting perspectives/comments on WOT about newspapers posting arrest logs.

    Still have this bad feeling that this situation will be tied up in the CA Court system for a long time. All 4 culprits each have a $1.8 Million Bail.

    Guess if they can’t make Bail, then they will be sitting in Jail for some time (the other 2 live in PA and CT).

    Mugshots.com is still on the Internet. There is alot of interesting information on the Web about the site and each culprit.

  3. Ex-PH2 says:

    Book ’em, Dano, and don’t let them get away with it.

    What a bunch of creeps. Parasites. Worse than vampire bats.

    Earthworms and snails are more honest than these slugs.

  4. Frankie Cee says:

    Mugshots dot com is where the piece of shit, wino dUlLaSs WhItGeNfElD and the flatlining, former aviator, disbarred Attorney, Dunniel Bernutless , got information on me, and published it, that was patently false.

    • AnotherPat says:

      Karma, Frankie for what DGW and DAB did to you. Pure Karma. So far, both DGW and DAB have 2 Mugshots on the Web, but am thinking DGW may have more since he was previously arrested for flying while intoxicated.

  5. Yef says:

    Are they Americans?
    Their names sound like European scum.

    • AnotherPat says:

      Sahar Sarid had to surrender his passport when booked in Florida jail…think he is from Israel. Don’t know if he is a green carder or naturalized.

      Keesee is US.

      Don’t know about the other 2.

      All 4 are bottom feeders, lower than scumponds. Bet they are having a great time in their prison cells.

      How does that saying go…” You reap what you sow…” and Karma. Hope they are locked up for a very long time, i.e. the rest of their pathetic lives. Have no sympathy for extortioners.

  6. Twist says:

    I’m a firm believer that newspapers should not publish arrests. Its like they are trying the person in the court of public opinion before they had their due process. I am fine with them publishing those convicted in a court of law. I know a person that got their name published in the paper for their arrest on check fraud charges. It turns out that he had his identity stolen and didn’t do it and all charges were dropped. The paper never published a retraction.

    • AnotherPat says:

      Twist: 2/17 Air Cav made a similiar comment on WOT on same topic.

      One of my friend’s son was arrested for supposely making verbal threats to his ex-girlfriend. It made the local newspaper. What was embarrassing for the paper was that it turned out he did not do it (girlfriend admitted she lied) and charges were dropped. However, the newspaper did not do a retraction to the arrest log report, nor was the story about the girlfriends false story published. Publisher said it was not their fault.The family thought about suing the newspaper and the ex-girlfriend, but did not have the $$ to hire an attorney.

      That young man ended up leaving town by joining the US Army and is now a SFC with 2 Combat Deployments. Don’t know what happened to his Ex-Girlfriend.

      His Dad told me that something good came out of something bad. He also told me that after that incident, the newspaper went from publishing every day arrest reports to once a week publishing.

    • Perry Gaskill says:

      For what it’s worth, newspapers wouldn’t publish arrest information if the cops didn’t make it available as a matter of public record. If you don’t want the information made available, you can always run for public office and change the rules.

      I’m also baffled by the idea that a newspaper should apparently bear the entire blame for publishing an arrest whenever somebody gets rousted on a bogus beef. Shit happens. Editors are supposed to retract when necessary but not all do. Most editors also do not like being the object of ridicule because the cops fed them bad information.

      Or are you saying that everyone arrested, up to and including monsters like Charlie Manson and David Berkowitz should be granted anonymity as a courtesy toward their feelings?

      • 2/17 Air Cav says:

        Perry. First, public info is publishable information, but that doesn’t excuse papers from exercising discretion. Thus, an adult rape victim’s name is withheld despite the fact that it need not be. Second, one needn’t win political office to effect a change in law. It can be done through one’s delegate, representative, or senator. Third, the entire blame goes to a newspaper because it is the newspaper that publishes the identity of arrestees. Fourth, it is not merely a matter of feelings when a, say, an 18 or 19 year old is arrested, his name, if not pic, is published, and he is later found not guilty, the charge is dismissed, or he receives some alternative sentence allowing for expungement, which is defeated, in part, by the papers. Lastly, you used to write these reports so it hits close to home. I get that, but it is neither here nor there to the issue.

        • Perry Gaskill says:

          Actually, this stuff doesn’t hit particularly close to home. A sheriff’s log such as what we were talking about before is the kind of scut work done because reader’s like it, and because there are sometimes WTF items that can lead to interesting mysteries. A blotter entry about a body dumped in a vacant lot, say, and that sort of thing.

          Answer me this, Kemosabe. And I’m asking because I might be having a hard time wrapping my head around a core issue. In what way is what TAH does by calling out SV dirtballs fundamentally different from what a newspaper does by reporting on local crime? I’ll grant that Jonn’s discretion is first rate, but it might also be pointed out that the original source of a fair number of SV stories is local news. Without those items, TAH would likely be a duller place.

          I can also be sympathetic to those caught unfairly in the cops-courts-media crime circus, and if it was left up to me would have no problem printing a retraction if needed. Some days you eat the bear, some days the bear eats you. Still, it might be a mistake to make an across-the-board ban on the publishing of arrestee names. Comparing costs and benefits, banning such info because of rare incidents starts to get close to the idea of wanting to ban firearms because some adolescent wanker shoots up a high school in Florida.

          On the other hand, an annoying thing about some parts of the news media is an apparent need to seize a sanctimonious high ground. H. L. Mencken once said something to the effect that a good reporter should have the instincts of a bartender, a police lieutenant, and a whorehouse madam. Somehow the news media has lost a certain level of objectivity it needs to get back.

          • 2/17 Air Cav says:

            “In what way is what TAH does by calling out SV dirtballs fundamentally different from what a newspaper does by reporting on local crime?”

            Well, Tonto, I think you know the answer to that but, since you asked, I’ll offer an answer. In the years I have been visiting TAH, I have yet to see an instance in which a featured phony has been falsely accused. Nor have I come across a single instance in which a retraction was merited. When Jonn exercises discretion in what he chooses not to publish for want of reliable evidence, we never know about it. On the flip side, after records are obtained, social media pages are captured, and the valor thievery is established, then we see the story. A solitary accusation, no matter who the source, never results in someone being accused of stolen valor at TAH. Contrast that with newspaper publication of arrest information where an allegation is sufficient to name the accused, his age, and where he lives, at least.

            It is true, as you say, that local news is sometimes the source through which phonies are identified, but consider why. Usually, a local paper features an ‘unsung hero’ and it is read by one of Jonn’s ninjas who smells a rat. From there, the research is done and the phony is exposed. More than a few times, the local paper, now provided with evidence by Jonn, runs a second story blowing up the unsung hero’s account. Unfortunately, too often the papers ignore the evidence rather than embarrass themselves and destroy a good read. That do it for you?

            • 2/17 Air Cav says:

              One other thing. It’s not reporting on local crime that is at issue. It’s reporting arrest information that is my bone of contention. The two are associated but not the same things.

        • 5JC says:

          Actually in my state sexual assault victims and juvenile offender/ victim names are redacted from police reports. The victim and the associated attorneys can get a full copy of the report but most people can’t under information requests.

          Most criminals and their families around here enjoy reading the mugshot magazines to keep up with what their friends are up to and who might be working for the police.

          • Some Guy says:

            “Most criminals and their families around here enjoy reading the mugshot magazines to keep up with what their friends are up to and who might be working for the police.”
            Haha, we have one of those around here too. I always wondered who actually buys and reads the Crime Times, now I know.

  7. Jarhead says:

    What would be fair play to all four of those low life M Fckrs would be to have their own pictures posted on every bus, train, plane and any other general travel public rest room wall with the following: “PLEASE, before taking a crap, call me for a good time (insert phone # for each) so I can wash my hair before you flush the toilet. BTW, PLEASE make me smile when I pull down my britches and bend over.”
    On a serious note, there is a publication sold in most every gas station and small convenience store in Dothan, Alabama. Front cover and throughout has mug shots of many arrested in this area. Could it be for the same reason as the above? You can bet there will be some checking done on the matter. Always wondered why such a piece of trash like that was sold. COUNT ON IT being exposed here if I ever find out they are guilty of the same.

    • AnotherPat says:

      Jarhead…this is the publication you addressed…and looked what happened to this poor soul in Jefferson County, Alabama (thank goodness he sued them and WON):

      ://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/sep/04/mugshot-tabloid-local-crime-defamation-just-busted

      • AnotherPat says:

        Reposting the link about the story on the tabloid and what it did to a guy in Alabama:

        https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/sep/04/mugshot-tabloid-local-crime-defamation-just-busted

        • Jarhead says:

          Thanks for sharing, A P. None of those publications shown on the link looked like the ones published and distributed in Dothan. However, your post makes me want to find out tomorrow. Must say this…those on the front pages of the Dothan publication are some truly hard looking characters a person wold not want to encounter.

        • Jarhead says:

          A P….Just a F Y I…The publication available in most gas stations and other locations is known as The Enforcer. Published once monthly, this month’s issue proudly claims over 450 pictures. Funny, right on the inside of the cover is a pix of a guy with a puzzled look on his face and the comment, “Let us know if we made a mistake”. Published and distributed by Victory Media. Of interest to the T A H crowd will be the following: https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2017/10/victory-media-settles-ftc-charges-concerning-its-promotion-post

          • AnotherPat says:

            JH: Thank you for looking into this and sharing about the Enforcer as well as Victory Media.

            Out of curiousity, when I researched “Enforcer” with “Alabama”, Dothan popped up (Houston Co Police/Sheriff Department) with mugshots. 😉

            How ironic about the comment with the guy’s mugshot.

            Out of curiosity, I checked several local Gas Stations/small convience stores in my area to see if they may carry similiar pubs such as the Enforcer. No far, Nada.

            Thank you again for sharing. Have to ask: Roll Tide or War Eagle or none of the above?😉

            • Jarhead says:

              A P….actually it would be closer to none of the above. It always amazes me to see during a ball game weekend all the junk cars running around with the car top flags representing their choice of team. One look at probably 75% of those junkers makes a person realize most have no idea exactly where their chosen favorite university is located, and most could not even spell the word campus…let alone the university’s full name. Yep, I enjoy watching the games now & then, but have a real life to live in the meantime.
              Now about the Enforcer, with the link I posted above, my guess is Jonn has unknowingly opened a new can of worms. The Mrs. and I are going up to Wetumpka (slightly north of Montgomery) in the next two or three days. While there I’ll make some stops in the local gas stations there to see if similar publications under different names exist. Knowing the ones in the B’ham area are published under a different name, I’m beginning to wonder about these rags and how they might be connected. Interesting how pictures and names are published, all the way down to include the heinous crime of Disorderly Conduct and Disturbing the Peace. Will be back with more comments by week’s end.
              Meanwhile, I hope every T A H reader checks out the link posted above on Victory Media. Not a story any of us would be proud of.

              • AnotherPat says:

                Thank you, again, JH for the feedback..and now you really got my curiousity on Victory Media, so will start keeping track of them. Once again, another organization taking advantage of our Military.🤔

                That Justbusted tabloid in Alabama that almost ruined that guy’s life? Looks as if it goes by other names in other States. How many other innocent (and I mean innocent) lives have been affected by those pubs?

                Gonna be interesting to see what transpires with that pub and others based on the Mugshot owners being arrested for extortion. Time will tell?

                Thank you, again, JH, for sharing and your honest comment about football in Alabama. Lots of die-hard football fans in AL who live, breathe and die on that sport (and it seems to be all Collegiate versus NFL).

                Enjoy the trip with Mrs. JH..😊

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