Owners of Mugshots.com charged with extortion and other crimes

Two of the alleged owners of Mugshots.com, Sahar Sarid and Thomas Keesee, have been arrested in Florida. Mugshots.com is a website that publishes mugshots and charges for their removal. In addition to Sarid and Keesee, the site’s other two owners, Kishore Vidya Bhavnanie and David Usdan, have also been arrested.

Ars Technica reports that the four men stand accused of identity theft, money laundering, and extortion. Sarid and Kessee were arrested on warrants issued by the State of California and the state’s Attorney General, Xavier Becerra, has called the website exploitative.

“This pay-for-removal scheme attempts to profit off of someone else’s humiliation,” Becerra said in a statement released by his office. “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.”

In the statement, Becerra’s office said that Mugshots.com extorted more than $64,000 from 175 people with California addresses. On the national stage, Mugshots.com took in an excess of $2 million from more than 5,700 individuals.

Mugshots.com charged people hundreds of dollars to have their photos removed from the site’s database. To make matters worse, the site did not differentiate between those who were successfully prosecuted, found not guilty, or even those who had been never formally charged with a crime. If you were arrested for any reason, your photo could end up on Mugshots.com, where anyone could find it.

The 29-page affidavit details the lengths some users went to in order to have their photos removed. One person, Jesse T., repeatedly attempted to get his photo removed and offered proof that he had been released from jail without being charged with a crime. Mugshots.com’s sister site unpublisharrest.com told him he would need to pay $400 to have his photo removed. After repeatedly protesting his innocence, a representative from the responded with expletives and told him his photo was permanent.

As of the time of this article’s writing, Mugshots.com remains online, but some are hopeful that the prosecution of the site’s owners will mark the beginning of the end for it and similar websites.


From Jay Rock to Saba, these are the 50 best albums of 2018

We've spent the year listening to new albums, digging deep, and culling our master list into 50 favorites. From blockbuster releases to hidden gems, these are the best albums of 2018.
Press Releases

NFL’s Marshawn Lynch joins Digital Trends Live to raise awareness for his nonprofit

PORTLAND, Oregon, December 10, 2018 -- NFL running back Marshawn Lynch is coming to Digital Trends Live for a special Thursday morning segment. Coming on the heels of Lynch’s 2018 Man of the Year Award nomination, the segment will center…

Chinese court upholds Qualcomm's complaint that Apple infringed on two patents

Apple is following the FTC's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Amazon Go expansions, the robocall onslaught, more

On this episode of Digital Trends' live morning show, Digital Trends Live, hosts Greg Nibler and Jeremy Kaplan explored the news of the day, including Amazon Go's potential expansion, the robocall onslaught, and more.
Emerging Tech

Say cheese: InSight lander posts a selfie from the surface of Mars

NASA's InSight mission to Mars has commemorated its arrival by posting a selfie. The selfie is a composite of 11 different images which were taken by one of its instruments, the Instrument Deployment Camera.
Emerging Tech

Researchers create a flying wireless platform using bumblebees

Researchers at the University of Washington have come up with a novel way to create a wireless platform: using bumblebees. As mechanical drones' batteries run out too fast, the team made use of a biology-based solution using living insects.

New ‘Stardew Valley’ content on the way, as game’s maker freezes next project

Stardew Valley creator Eric Barone said that he will continue working on new content for the indie farming simulator. The developer previously said that he will devote all his time to his next game, but that has been placed on hold for now.

Underwater survival game ‘Subnautica’ free on Epic Games’ online store

The award-winning underwater survival game Subnautica is currently available as a free download on the Epic Games store. The Steam challenger looks to attract players with a new free game every two weeks.

Kanye West wants to meet ‘Metal Gear Solid’ creator Hideo Kojima, for some reason

Rapper Kanye West wants to meet video game designer Hideo Kojima in New York. Nobody knows the reason behind the meeting, but fans are speculating that it may have something to do with Death Stranding for the PlayStation 4.

Canary home security company sued over $10 monitoring fee

A class-action lawsuit claims home security startup Canary offered free monitoring features to entice people to purchase their cameras, then started charging a monthly fee to continue using them.

iOS jailbreak app store Cydia shuts down purchasing

For years, iOS users have been jailbreaking their devices to install software not approved by Apple. But now the popular app store alternative Cydia will no longer be accepting purchases.

Lawsuit alleges Apple falsely advertised the screen size of the iPhone X

A lawsuit alleges that Apple was dishonest in the way that it marketed the iPhone X. The lawsuit alleges that despite Apple's marketing campaign, the new iPhone is not in fact all screen because of the notch.
Emerging Tech

Bright ‘hyperactive’ comet should be visible in the sky this weekend

An unusual green comet, 46P/Wirtanen, will be visible in the night sky this month as it makes its closest approach to Earth in 20 years. It may even be possible to see the comet without a telescope.

‘Kingdom Hearts III’ out in the wild, director asks for support to stop spoilers

Kingdom Hearts III has been leaked, with several copies of the game out in the wild. The game's director, Tetsuya Nomura, responded to the situation, calling for help from gamers to stop spoilers from spreading online.