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Lauded domainer arrested over $2.4 million “extortion”

Kevin Murphy, May 18, 2018, 11:54:41 (UTC), Gossip

Noted domain investor Sahar Sarid is among four men charged in California yesterday with an alleged extortion scam related to the web site Mugshots.com.

He was reportedly arrested in Florida alongside Thomas Keesee, while in California Kishore Vidya Bhavnanie and David Usdan have also been charged.

The four are alleged to be the owners of Mugshots.com, which republishes the mugshots and arrest records, copied from public documents, of people arrested in various parts of the US.

They have been charged with extortion, money laundering, and identity theft.

According to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, the site was funded by charging the subjects of the mugshots a $399 fee to have their photos and records “unpublished”.

Many of the people affected were innocent of any crime and had been arrested by mistake, Becerra said.

The site collected over $2.4 million in removal fees from 5,307 people over three years, according to Becerra. In a statement, he 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.

According to court documents — which make a fairly horrific read — Sarid is a hidden beneficiary of Mugshots.com.

He told TheDomains back in 2012 that he’d sold Mugshots in 2011, but prosecutors now allege that the sale was fictitious and that he continued to collect money from the alleged scam.

Sarid gained fame during the domain speculation heyday of the mid-2000s, profiled in a DN Journal cover story in 2007, around the same time he was inducted into the now-defunct TRAFFIC Hall of Fame.

DN Journal publisher Ron Jackson today noted that Sarid has since been the subject of rumors of “questionable business practices”.

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Comments (1)

  1. Naked Truth says:

    There’s a Naked Truth documentary called “Mugged” that features Mugshots.com

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