Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Arraignment of Riley Bangerter in Placer County Cyber Harassment Case
SACRAMENTO - Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and Placer County District Attorney R. Scott Owens today announced the arraignment of Riley Bangerter, 36, of Roseville, on 11 charges of identity theft, in a case of cyber harassment. Bangerter pled not guilty when he was arraigned on January 11, 2016.
Bangerter was arrested on December 3, 2015, following an investigation by Attorney General Harris’ eCrime Unit, which found that he had superimposed images of his ex-wife onto pornographic images and posted them online, accompanied by her personal identifying information.
“Bangerter’s heinous actions sought to humiliate, belittle and destroy the personal and professional life of his victim,” said Attorney General Harris. “This prosecution sends a clear message to all who dare to perpetrate the crimes of cyber harassment and cyber exploitation, that these cowardly acts will not be tolerated in California. I thank the Placer County District Attorney’s office for their partnership and commitment to holding Bangerter accountable for these deplorable acts.”
Bangerter is charged with identity theft – violating Penal Code section 530.5, which prohibits the misuse of personal identifying information. The case is being prosecuted by the Placer County District Attorney’s office.
During her tenure, Attorney General Harris has pioneered the prosecution of cyber exploitation cases, successfully securing criminal convictions and sentences for those who post intimate photos or videos online without the consent of the individual depicted.
In 2011, Attorney General Harris created the eCrime Unit within the California Department of Justice to identify and prosecute identity theft crimes, cybercrimes and other crimes involving the use of technology. In April 2015, Attorney General Harris announced that Kevin Bollaert was sentenced to eighteen years of incarceration (a sentence later revised to eight years in prison followed by ten years of mandatory supervision) for operating a cyber exploitation website, ugotposted.com. The site allowed the anonymous, public posting of nude or explicit photographs without the subject’s permission and also included the subject’s full name, location, age and Facebook profile link. Bollaert also extorted victims, charging them $250 to $350 to remove the content posted without their permission.
In June 2015, Attorney General Harris announced a three-year jail sentence for Casey Meyering, who operated a cyber exploitation website called WinByState.com and an associated site TakedownHammer, where he extorted victims seeking to have their images removed. Charles Evens, who hacked into email accounts to steal intimate images and then sold the images to cyber exploitation website operator Hunter Moore, pleaded guilty to hacking in June 2015.
Attorney General Harris convened a Cyber Exploitation Task Force in February 2015, a public-private partnership comprised of 50 major technology companies (including Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Yahoo, and Twitter), victims’ advocates, and legislative and law enforcement leaders. In October 2015, Attorney General Harris and the task force unveiled a first-of-its-kind online resource hub with tools for victims, the technology industry, and law enforcement agencies.
In September 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law two new measures Attorney General Harris sponsored to combat and prevent cyber exploitation. Senate Bill 676 (Cannella, R-Ceres) enables law enforcement to destroy cyber exploitation images and AB 1310 (Gatto, D-Glendale) allows search warrants to be issued for crimes related to cyber exploitation and allows for the prosecution of cyber exploitation cases in the county where the victim resides or in the county where the images were posted.