January 10, 2018
Complaint alleges MyEx.com violated Nevada’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act by intimidating subjects to pay to remove images
Carson City, NV – Today, Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt announced that the State of Nevada, along with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), charged the parties responsible for the revenge pornography website, MyEx.com, with violation of federal and state law. The charges result from the website’s non-consensual postings of intimate images of individuals, along with their personal information.
In a complaint filed in federal court, the FTC and Office of the Nevada Attorney General stated that MyEx.com is dedicated solely to revenge pornography and has solicited intimate pictures and videos of victims, together with their personal information such as their name, address, employer and social media account information. The website urged visitors to “Add Your Ex,” and to “Submit Pics and Stories of Your Ex.” In numerous instances, the defendants allegedly charged victims fees from $499 to $2,800 to remove their images and information from the site.
According to the complaint, visitors to MyEx.com can rate the videos and pictures they see and post comments about the victims. At various times, the site included victims’ full date of birth, personal email address, telephone number, and links to social media profiles, along with the intimate images.
“As a father, I cannot comprehend sexual coercion, manipulation and inappropriate exposure. As attorney general, I cannot and will not tolerate it,” said Laxalt. “I am proud of the diligent work of my office, who not only filed this civil complaint, but sponsored legislation in 2015 to make revenge pornography a crime. We will continue to take a strong stance against individuals who prey on our citizens.”
The complaint names EMP Media, Inc., Aniello “Neil” Infante, Shad “John” Applegate, also known as Shad Cottelli, and one or more unknown parties doing business as Yeicox Ltd. The complaint alleged that when the defendants used coercion, duress or intimidation to seek payment from victims to remove their intimate images and personal information, their conduct constituted a deceptive trade practice under Nevada law. Moreover, the FTC alleged that the defendants’ practices constitute unfair acts or deceptive practices in violation of the FTC Act.
The FTC and the Nevada also approved a proposed settlement with one of the defendants, Neil Infante. Infante served in various corporate roles, including President of EMP Media Inc. Under the terms of the settlement, Infante is banned from posting intimate images and personal information of others on a website without notice and consent; required to destroy all such intimate images and personal information in his possession; and banned from charging individuals fees for removing such content from a website. He is also permanently restrained from serving as an officer or director of any business unless he has knowledge of the ordinary operations of that entity. Finally, he has agreed to a $205,000 judgment, which the order will suspend upon payment of $15,000 in light of his inability to pay more. The payment received will be used to provide redress to individuals who paid him take-down fees.
While this case is civil in nature, the Office of the Nevada Attorney General sponsored Assembly Bill (AB) 49 in the 2015 Legislative Session, an omnibus crime bill revising various provisions in the law regarding related sexual offenses. Among other requirements, the bill establishes the crime of unlawful dissemination of an intimate image of a person, in response to the growing problem of revenge pornography. The bill also enhances penalties for various crimes involving sexual offenses against children; sets forth new provisions relating to expert testimony in the prosecution for cases of sex trafficking and sexual abuse of children; allows for the presumption of admissibility of prior sexual offenses committed by a defendant in his or her own prosecution; and prevents defendants from imposing psychological examinations on victims of certain sex offenses. For more information on AB 49, visit leg.state.nv.us.
Senior Deputy Attorney General John McGlamery and Deputy Attorney General Laura M. Tucker of the Attorney Generals’ Bureau of Consumer Protection represented Nevada in this matter. The filed complaint is attached.