Mugshots.com’s alleged co-owners arrested, charged with extortion

Mugshots.com’s alleged co-owners arrested, charged with extortion
© Getty Images

California Attorney General Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraTanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief Overnight Health Care: Biden says US will have enough vaccine for all adults by end of May | Biden calls on all states to vaccinate teachers by the end of March | Texas, Mississippi lift mask mandates Becerra tells Warren he will do 'thorough review' of executive actions on drug prices MORE (D) has charged the alleged owners of Mugshots.com with extortion and two of the website's four owners were arrested on Thursday in Florida.

Sahar Sarid and Thomas Keese were apprehended after a California issued a warrant for their arrest.


The two allegedly run the website Mugshots.com, which has come under fire for mining law enforcement websites for criminal records and mugshots, posting them online and then demanding money if someone wants the information to be removed.

Kishore Vidya Bhavnanie and David Usdan, who officials say are also owners of the company, were charged as well for extortion, money laundering and identity theft.

"This pay-for-removal scheme attempts to profit off of someone else's humiliation," Becerra said Wednesday 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."

Over three years, the four have garnered more $64,000 in removal fees from around 175 people in California, according to the attorney general's office. In that same time frame, the attorney general's office says that the site took in more than $2 million from 5,703 people nationwide.

According to testimonies in an affidavit posted by Ars Technica, Mugshots.com tried and often succeeded in extracting thousands of dollars per person.