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Alleged porn site mastermind remanded

Tanesha Mundle

Saturday, September 08, 2012    

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THE alleged mastermind behind a local website on which hundreds of nude photographs of Jamaican women were posted without their consent was on Wednesday remanded into custody when he appeared in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court.

Twenty-seven-year-old Ronald Oates, a mechanic of Homestead Road in Kingston, is accused of attempting to extort money from the women but was reportedly only successful in swindling $100,000 from a man whose email he allegedly hacked into.

Wednesday, a bail application was made on his behalf, but a ruling on the application was delayed by Magistrate Georgianna Fraser to facilitate the completion of investigations. Oates was remanded into custody until September 18, when the matter will again be mentioned.

According to the prosecution, Oates hacked into the victim's e-mail accounts, cellphones and personal computers and threatened to post nude photos that he took from their accounts if they did not meet his demands for money.

It is alleged that he hacked into the email of one female complainant and locked her out after changing her password. He allegedly contacted her and demanded an unstated sum of money to prevent the publication of her photo but she refused. It is further claimed that he then posted a nude photo of her on his website, Jamaican Girls Exposed, which has since been shut down.

It is also alleged that he accessed a man's email and later demanded $100,000 from the man in order not to put the contents of his email on the web. The complainant reported the matter to the police and the alleged transaction was observed by an undercover police.

According to the prosecution police have seized several sim cards, memory cards, laptops, cellphones — including one which contained the number from which the call to the female complainant was allegedly made — and other devices which they are now analysing.

But Oates' attorney, Zara Lewis, has denied the allegations saying that there is no nexus between the accused and the virtual complainants. She also denied the report that the phone that was used to contact the female complainant was found in Oates' possession.

Hundreds of persons are believed by the police to have been affected, but only 25 victims have come forward.

Oates has been charged with unauthorised access and unlawfully making data available for the commission of an offence — both under the Cybercrimes Act — in addition to unauthorised obstruction, obscene publication, extortion and conspiracy to extort.

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