More details on the Mugshots.com case and Sahar Sarid (plus a video)

domain name disputes

The arrest warrant for the 4 people (including Sahar Sarid) involved in the Mugshots.com case is circulating the internet and here are a few interesting facts and comments. You can read the first post about the arrest here.

Here is an extract of the arrest document talking about Sahar Sarid and whether he is the owner of Mugshots.com or not:

“In 2011, Mugshots.com began to receive negative media attention, and SARID sold the company to “Michael Robertson” through eBay. Either Robertson does not exist, or he is a straw person making no decisions in the company. Despite the eBay sale, SARID retained ownership of Mugshots.com, and in 2011, conspired with others to create the takedown website, hiring Thomas KEESEE, the owner of Hammermill & Masterson LLC, to operate the sale and customer service. The takedown website later transitioned to Unpublisharrest.com”

(It transitioned to Unpublisharrest.com from Unpublish.com.)

Then the investigation simply followed the money trail:

“Hammermill & Masterson LLC bank account records produced by Wells Fargo Bank reveal that from June 16, 2016 through February 16, 2017, numerous payments were made to a business account, DigiCard LLC, at Bank of America. The payments totaled $245,398,98, and averaged $27,266.55 per month.”

“A puclic database search via Texas Comptroller indicated that DigiCard LLC was formed in Texas in 2003 by Manager Shunit Sarid, SARID’s sister, with a Texas Taxpayer number of ________. Public database records indicate the business address of DigiCard, LLC to be SARID’s residence, ______________________. ” […]

“The Sarid family appears to profit from the Mugshots.com domain. Sahar SARID is the owner, and his mother Aliza Sarid handles some of the financial transactions as indicated by e-mail records produced by Google Inc. and Yahoo! Inc. Profits generated from the Unpublisharrest.com website are transferred into the Hammermill & Masterson account, and then laundered through DigiCard LLC. This would indicate Sahar SARID is continuing to profit from the Mugshots.com business.”

When Sahar Sarid claimed he had sold Mugshots.com back in 2011 very few people believed him. The apparently fake LinkedIn profile of the “buyer” didn’t help either.

The Australian web hosting company

The Australian web hosting company referenced in the arrest document must be Fabulous.com. This is the registrar that the domain name mugshots.com is registered with. Fabulous is an ICANN accredited registrar and from what I know they don’t do web hosting. And Mugshots.com is using nameservers that point to the fact that it is using Amazon Web Services (AWS) for its web hosting.

The arrest document shows that Amazon was included in the search warrants.

Unpublish.com and unpublisharrest.com are using CloudFlare.com for webs hosting.

Domain name Whois

Domain name Whois (that ICANN is determined to kill soon because of GDPR) offer more insights.

All 4 domains unpublish.com, unpublisharrest.com, mug-shots.com and mugshots.com use the same whois details including email, address and phone number. The only differences are that unpublisharrest.com is registered with Moniker.com, a different ICANN accredited registrar (while the other 3 domains are at Fabulous) and that someone name “Peter Frampton” is the alleged owner of this domain name. Just like “Michael Robertson” above, “Peter Frampton” might not exist at all.

Google was also included in the search warrants, possibly because (among other things) of the gmail email address included in the whois of these 4 domain names.

Mugshots.com has been using fake domain name whois privacy for years. This is just a gmail account that says “intlwhoisprivacy@gmail.com”. This is not the Fabulous.com whois privacy. And somehow I have a feeling that there is no company called “International Whois Privacy Services Limited” in Belize.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerraheld press conference

California Attorney General Xavier Becerraheld a press conference on what he called a “Cyber Exploitation Case”.

He announced the charges against the 4 defendants who allegedly operated an exploitative website publishing personal information of individuals without their consent. The website also solicited a “de-publishing” fee for the removal of information.

Here is the video from the press conference:

It is important to note that a criminal indictment contains charges that are only allegations against a person. Every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Sold.Domains

About Konstantinos Zournas

Konstantinos studied Computer Engineering and Computer Science in London and lives in Athens, Greece. He works on domain names, websites and software development. Has been online since 1995 & domaining since 2002.

40 comments

  1. The whole family will go to JAIL!!

    It is all IN THE FAMILY!!

  2. I know it was you, Fredo. You broke my heart…

  3. Peter Frampton was a rock star during the 1970s. Fabulous.com is probably where the registration’s DNS is mapped.

    • Mike too funny. But not really…So many more unknown corrupt stories….with Sahar Sarid and Kishmore “Jeff” Bvhavanie and Sahars Mom and sister Shunit crooked activities. Not to mention business dealings with seasoned domain investors over the years. Frank Schilling said Sahar Sarid would be the first billionaire with domains years ago. Everyone doing serious long term business in the domain industry placed him on a pedestal, as domain investor genius. Silly looking back now, huh?

  4. Andrea Paladini

    As Giovanni Falcone, a well-known reputable anti-mafia Italian magistrate was used to say, “follow the money” … 🙂
    More “FAMILIES” in the Domain Industry will go to JAIL soon, STAY TUNED!

  5. Well, it appears the defense can’t be that he sold the domain previously or that he’s had nothing to do with it since 2013. Unless he’s going to blame it on his family, I don’t think the “it wasn’t me defense” will get him very far, assuming article is true.

    What may be a viable defense (maybe at the appellate level) is that publishing public information is not a crime. I think that part is legally correct and falls under the first amendment. If the information should never have been published, then why did the police departments publish it? Why do newspapers publish it? I think as long as they weren’t charging for the removal of information, this case would never have been brought. Ironically, it’s legal under the first amendment to republish the information. It’s still possible he could face civil penalties if he violated website licensing agreements (that no one reads) to not republish the information.

    Some of the charges are absolutely classic overcharging and will disappear. The most serious remaining is extortion. That’s going to be much tougher: Do you have the right to charge someone to remove information you legally gained from a public source? That’s what this whole case turns on.

    Regardless of why was behind this specific website, if you want to do operate a shady, unethical business, don’t do it from the US. Don’t try to hide behind offshore entities while keeping a personal, physical presence in the US. Just leave (physically) and pull these stunts from other countries. All sorts of cybercrimes are committed everyday from other countries and no one cares. No indictments are filed. No press conferences. There’s the lesson for any of you shady business wanna-be’s.

    • Agree.
      Stupid to be in the US why running a scheme like that.
      Classic RICO case IMO.

    • What about the money laundering accusations?

      • I suspect the money laundering accusation is valid only if the extortion charge is valid. It’s not a crime (or money laundering) to move money through multiple companies, necessarily. If I run a legal business and move legal money through multiple companies (perhaps for tax reasons, perhaps to keep money under different corporate umbrellas, or for whatever reason), then it wouldn’t be money laundering. However, if the extortion charge holds up, then it’s also likely that the movement of money will be seen as money laundering rather than any other reason given. I think the money laundering charge depends on precisely the details of the transactions involving DigiCard LLC, but more so, I think without the extortion charge, there is no money laundering charge.

      • I have a feeling that this income was never declared.

      • Oh, well that would be a whole different ball game there and goes beyond California’s authority. That’s a federal tax evasion charge. Federal prison. No parole. Huuuuge deal.

      • According to the civil lawsuit documents against Mugshot.com, they were registed
        in Nevis West Indies and no such company was authorized to even be doing business
        in any state whatsoever!

      • You don’t actually need an authorization to accept payments from a different country.

  6. Andrea Paladini

    P.S. (Responding to a recent article of the guy below on DomainGang, where negative comments to the owner or his friends are not allowed, not published or deleted. Very democratic approach to truth … lol)
    @Theo Develegas, aka Acro aka DomainGang:
    Those who support, praise and/or hide/omit/manipulate facts to protect criminals, or to “minimize” the relevance of their crimes, are their moral accomplices, so criminals as well (besides bootlicker of course).
    Not surprised, since you were one of those guys who wrote articles in praise of Sahar Sarid. And that just the tip of the iceberg …
    Shame on you.

  7. California revised their extortion law waay the hell back in 2014 and Sarid just kept on screwing
    with people all the way on the west coast to get more money and now more trouble!!!
    “Mugshot Extortion” WAS a thing not to concern yourself with but it’s not 2011-13 anymore!
    They parted ways with Epstein in 2013 and he was the ONLY lawyer they constantly used.
    They MESSED UP and not only will every charge stick but MORE TO COME!

  8. I’ve met Sarid two times: At TRAFFIC Vegas in 2010 when he launched Bido. Had no idea he owned Mugshots.com.

    Then again at NamesCon 2016. I asked him about the web site, and he said he sold the domain years prior. I had no reason not to believe him, I take people’s word at face value. Unlike Andrea Paladini here, I don’t suffer from paranoia.

    On DomainGang, I’ve covered every “celebrity” in the domain industry, and some of the posts about Sarid are parody. I covered the mystery WHOIS behind Mugshots.com, and was first to cover his recent arrest. Keep in mind every man is innocent until proven guilty.

    Sarid posted bail and he’s out of prison. If he’s guilty, he’ll go to jail.

    • DomainGang, and DomainShane always delete comments even when it’s truth to protect their buddies, that why nobody respects them, and respect you K!

      • Ken, I think you should ask Theo about deleted comments. He doesn’t do that unless there is good reason.
        (For those that are not running wordpress websites.) Some comments are automatically approved, some are put into the “pending” list that need approval, and some go straight to “spam”.
        I have a bout 4,000 spam comments at any time. I am sure I have missed some comments. This is hard work…
        If you don’t see your comment appear within a few hours then please email me.

      • That’s really funny, particularly being referred to alongside Shane. 🙂 He busted my balls online for years, but I came to accept this as online bravado, because in person it has always been handshakes and shooting the shit.

        The bottom line is, blogs aren’t here so that you can post all the shit that comes to your mind. Go see your therapist to flush out your anger and hatred. I mean that seriously, and in a positive manner. Want to get things out of your system? Start your own blog bro.

        I definitely don’t approve disparaging or threatening commentary that isn’t linked to a person with an email and a web site. Just like I would not approve this “Ken Hardgrove” empty shell comments, because his comment is 100% trolling.

        Konstantinos and I are friends. We don’t always agree on everything, and that’s ok. I have less tolerance towards trolls than he does.

        If you want to have some fun, read Adam Dicker’s comment here: http://whizzbangsblog.com/article-archive/saturday-musings-sahar-sarid-guilty-until-proven-innocent

    • @acro you meant to say he posted bail from jail. Prison is where they all are headed. Keep in mind, this is only the state of California with indictments. How many other states have same or near same laws to protect consumers from such criminal activities? There may be other states that will file indictments as well? They left a link for all other effected consumers to post complaints. More to follow I’m sure.

    • Andrea Paladini

      @Theo Develegas aka Acro aka DomainGang, aka noc@terrestrial.com, the guy who hides behind multiple nicknames and entities talks about paranoia? …. see who’s talking! LOL!:
      You don’t suffer from paranoia? your situation is much worse, dude.
      You are the bootlicker (or the “mental prostitute”) of the domain industry, writing mostly useless stuff just to please and praise as many people and advertisers as you can, to get more business and $$$ …
      And then, as a cover up, act like the self-proclaimed (…) “domain expert” who help people to recover allegedly “stolen” names … watch your portfolio dude, your names are dropping like flies …
      You have very little moral sense, if any, no dignity at all, I guess you sold that longtime ago … so shameless and pathetic.
      You are one of those “oily”, false and “negative people” it’s better stay away from.
      Thanks God, karma will make justice.

    • Stop with the BS/lying bro! Andrea Paladini is so right about you Acro!

  9. The rags-to-riches-to-jail story.

    Sahar went from driving an ice cream truck in Texas after immigrating from Israel to someone in a chat room wiring him 3 K to buy domains, to becoming a top domain broker, to being able to retire a few years later at the age of “27”, to being connected with the leading domainers of all time. Listen to the kudos Sahar received from the top domainers of all time. “Sahar will become a billionaire”. “Hardest working”. “Ahead of his time” “A pioneer”

    WTF happened

    http://www.dnjournal.com/cover/2007/may.htm

  10. This is what puzzles me. He supposedly owns several domain gems that could be sold for 7-figures each. Why go through all the illegal scheming for the quick buck?

    • Andrea Paladini

      It looks like that illegal scheming was making him a couple of millions $/year, not a quick buck … 🙂

  11. Andrea Paladini

    Kostas, also for you, there is an old proverb which says “those that lie down with dogs get fleas.”
    A few words to the wise, good luck 🙂

  12. Andrea Paladini

    Kostas said: “I don’t think he knew about mugshots.com when he was writing these.”
    Now everybody are distancing from him … haha … and nobody knows nothing about him running for MANY YEARS Mugshots.com … YEAH, right …
    Sahar Sarid was well-know since the early 2000 by many in the Domain community, he was hosted and “awarded” at domain conferences, etc.
    Do you think people are dumb Kostas? cause I’m not, so stop saying BS and defending your bootlicker friend. He doesn’t take responsibility for anything he write by hiding behind the “parody” pretext, no dignity whatsoever.

    @Josh, thanks but I don’t need lessons from you about what money laundering is.
    Read again what you wrote before instead of posting obvious things.

    • OK Andrea. So we are all lying here… You got us. Not!

      Up until 2012 that I started this blog I had never attended a domain name conference or meetup. I think it was 2014 when I first met a domainer in person and 2015 when I got to my first domain conference.
      Before 2012 I knew 5-10 domainers by name and a few more that were using nicknames in the forums I was in. So 2002 to 2012 it was all forums for me.
      Sorry I missed knowing a few scumbags. I was busy with domaining. Sorry if I may had read about Sahar in 2008 and then forgot he ever existed. I was not wasting my time then with this shit.
      I have forgotten people that I went to college with yet alone some scumbags…
      And it seems that I am wasting my time here if I spend all this time writing this blog and I get this from you. I am very sorry.
      I don’t know who is dumb here. You decide.

      • Andrea Paladini

        I’m not referring to you Kostas, read what I wrote. I know you didn’t know Sahar Sarid business before, but someone else did.

  13. https://enaming.com/ is the front for how SS sells his domain names.

  14. Where does it show he met bond or is that an assumption simply because he’s not listed in Broward County Jail? Might he be on a bus being transferred to another jail? Or had a friend in the county remove the public record..kinda like an ooops! Or is there a document showing he paid bond and is out? Just askin…….

  15. Michael Roberston exists… He’s back at Fabulous.com through Direct Nic.

    https://onlinedomain.com/2017/09/21/domain-name-news/mike-robertson-returns-fabulous/

    Congratulations Mickey on the acquisition and return!

  16. they need a kick in the butt,,,they need to stop taking personal info and stop exploiting it, they also need to stop harassing people on the internet.our government does not run like this they feel all is fine with this freedom of public information. this freedom needs to have a written law about this type of publishing

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.