The mastermind behind a US revenge porn website has agreed to plead guilty to computer hacking and identity theft charges, in a deal with federal prosecutors in Los Angeles.
Hunter Moore, 28, faces up to seven years in prison in connection with Isanyoneup.com, a virtual space for spurned lovers to post explicit photos of ex-girlfriends.
"It’s where revengeful exes come for peace of mind," said Moore when he defended the website in 2012 on ABC television’s "Nightline" current affairs program.
In a 20-page document filed Wednesday in US District Court, prosecutors said Moore had agreed to plead guilty to two charges — hacking a computer to gain information for personal gain and aggravated ID theft.
He also agreed not to use a computer without a probation officer’s permission, and to stay away from the several victims whose testimony had led to his indictment.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) took up the case after a young actress, Kayla Laws, found nude selfies of herself on Is Anyone Up that she thought had been safe and secure inside her personal email.
Her mother, Charlotte Laws, who doggedly pursued the case, appealed to victims via Twitter to testify at Moore’s sentencing.
Isanyoneup.com reportedly pulled as many as 350,000 visitors a day before it was shut down in April 2012 after it was anonymously bought out by BullyVille, a website that campaigns against online bullying.
A profile in Rolling Stone magazine called Moore “the most hated man on the Internet.” Others dubbed him “the king of revenge porn.”
"We are looking forward (when Moore is sentenced) to sharing the hundreds of victim impact statements that we received the day Isanyoneup.com was shut down," BullyVille founder James McGibney told AFP on Thursday by email.
Moore’s plea deal does not extend to co-accused Charles Evans, who Moore allegedly paid to hack into hundreds of email accounts in search of nude images to add to Is Anyone Up.
Evans’ trial date has been set for March.
Earlier this month, Kevin Christopher Bollaert, 28, was convicted in San Diego of extortion and identity theft over his revenge porn website, ugotposted.com, that hosted more than 10,000 sexually explicit photos.
Prosecutors said Bollaert ran a second website that offered to remove people from ugotposted.com in return for a fee.