A statement from the office of California state Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced the arrest of the accused owner/operator of revenge porn website WinByState.com.
Casey E. Meyering, 28, of Tulsa is charged with having "facilitated the posting of more than 400 sexually explicit photos of Californians and extorted victims for as much as $250 each to remove the illicit content." He was was arrested yesterday in Tulsa by a group of law enforcement agents including local police and California Attorney General eCrime Unit agents. Meyering has been charged with 5 felony extortion counts.
What seems particularly heinous about WinByState.com, which is still a fully operational service at the time of this blog post: it was promoted as "a user supported website where you can trade your ex-girlfriend, your current girlfriend, or any other girl that you might know." The site asked uploaders to identify their "wins" by city and state, and when possible, the victim's name.
"The California Attorney General's Office is currently working with GoDaddy.com to suspend the website," pending the ID of additional victims. And yes, that's further proof that GoDaddy is for douchebags.
From the OAG's news release:
"This behavior is the very definition of predatory and this website made a game out of humiliating victims for profit," Attorney General Harris said. "These actions at their core are about one individual exploiting the privacy and trust of others for financial gain. We will continue to investigate and prosecute those who participate in these deplorable and illegal activities."
Court documents allege that in 2013, Meyering owned and administered the website WinByState.com, which solicits the anonymous, public posting of private photographs containing nude and explicit images of individuals without their permission. Commonly known as revenge porn, the photos maybe obtained consensually by the poster during a prior relationship, or are stolen or hacked.
The investigation into WinByState.com began when a Northern California hacking victim discovered nude photos of herself on this site that had been stolen from her computer, according to court documents. Described as "a user supported website where you can trade your ex-girlfriend, your current girlfriend, or any other girl that you might know," WinByState.com solicited uploaders to identify their "wins" according to city and state, sometimes using the victim's complete or partial name. There were over 400 postings in the California forum, and at least one victim was under 18 at the time the photographs were taken, according to court documents.
Court documents also allege that WinbyState.com required victims to pay $250 via a Google Wallet account to remove posted photographs. The account was named TakeDownHammer, and was registered to Meyering at a non-existent Beverley Hills storefront. Law enforcement agents purchased a "takedown" for one the victims in Napa, and traced the funds to Meyering's bank account in Tulsa, where surveillance footage from the bank identified him withdrawing money from the account.
The California Attorney General's Office is currently working with GoDaddy.com to suspend the website pending the investigation and identification of additional victims.
In December of last year, Attorney General Harris announced the arrest of Kevin Christopher Bollaert, 27, of San Diego, who operated the revenge porn website ugotposted.com. He was charged with 31 felony counts of conspiracy, identity theft and extortion and is currently awaiting trial.
Attorney General Harris created the eCrime Unit in 2011 to identify and prosecute identity theft crimes, cybercrimes and other crimes involving the use of technology.
Individuals who feel they are victims of WinByState.com or other revenge porn websites should file a complaint with the California Attorney General's office here.
Here's some background on Mr. Meyering, at Adam Steinbaugh's law blog.