Mugshots.com – How Do I Remove My Mugshot from Google?
What’s the word for when a person takes embarrassing information about a person and demands money in exchange for not publishing it?
That’s right, it’s called extortion. Sometimes we call it blackmail…
Defense attorneys and privacy advocates have been gunning for websites like mugshots.com for years – their business model, which involves taking mugshots from jail records, publishing them online, and then demanding payments to remove the mugshots from Google, was based on extortion, plain and simple.
Now, the owners of mugshots.com have been arrested and charged with… yes, extortion.
Demanding Payment to Remove Mugshots from Google is Illegal in SC
In 2016, South Carolina finally passed legislation criminalizing Mugshot.com’s business model, making it a crime punishable by 60 days in jail:
- To get, or even attempt to get, arrest and booking records with the intent of charging a fee to remove the booking photos from Google;
- To demand payment to remove booking information from Google; or
- For a government employee to give booking information to anyone for purposes of online extortion.
The extortion law also authorizes a civil lawsuit against the person committing the extortion and the government employee who provided the records to the extortionist if the booking records are not removed within 30 days of a written request that includes:
- Identifying information about the arrestee, the charges, and the agency that made the arrest;
- Documentation of a dismissal, expungement, or not guilty verdict; and
- Where the information was published.
If they are demanding payment, it’s a crime, we will report them to law enforcement, and then you can sue them for damages. If they are not demanding payment, but they still refuse to remove your booking photo from Google, it’s not a crime but we can sue them for damages…
Mugshots.com Owners’ Mugshots…
Years ago, I heard some attorneys lamenting about how they would like to publish the mugshots of the owners of mugshots.com…
These guys. Sahar Sarid and Thomas Keesee.
Dear Sahir and Thomas:
No amount of money will persuade me to remove your mugshots from Google. That would be extortion.
If you would like your photos removed, only if your charges are dismissed, expunged, or if you are acquitted at trial, please send us a written request via certified mail, complying with the requirements listed in South Carolina’s 2016 online extortion law that you inspired, and I will take them down.
Criminal Defense Lawyer in Charleston, SC
If any person or company is blackmailing you to remove your booking photos from Google, or if your charges have been dismissed, expunged, or acquitted and they are refusing to remove your mugshot or other booking information, call Charleston criminal defense attorney Grant B. Smaldone now at (843) 808-2100 or contact us online for a free evaluation to see if we can help.