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Rohnert Park case key to 'revenge porn' website arrest


An investigation by Rohnert Park detectives into the operator of a "revenge porn" website suspected of hosting more than 400 sexually explicit pictures of California women and charging money to take them down has to led to his arrest, authorities said Friday.

Casey E. Meyering, 28, of Tulsa, Okla., is accused of running Winbystate.com, where risqu?pictures of at least one Rohnert Park woman were suspected of being posted early last year by an ex-Sonoma State University student.

Meyering was arrested Thursday in Tulsa by a Rohnert Park detective working with local police and agents from the California Attorney General's Office.

He is charged with five counts of felony extortion and will be brought back to Napa County to face trial.

Rohnert Park Lt. Jeff Taylor said his detectives became aware of the website when a woman came forward seeking help in getting her picture removed.

"That's what started the ball rolling," Taylor said. "It was through our investigation that we were able to track it down and get the evidence to make the arrest."

Attorney General Kamala Harris issued a written statement announcing the apprehension, calling Meyering predatory and saying he "made a game out of humiliating victims for profit."

Meyering charged up to $250 to remove pictures, often posted without consent by ex-partners, Harris said.

His was the third such arrest in California since last fall. A number of similar websites have cropped up and a new state law has made running them a crime.

"We will continue to investigate and prosecute those who participate in these deplorable and illegal activities," Harris said in a written statement.

Meyering is alleged to have been running his site last year when three women reported to Rohnert Park police that their computers had been hacked and private pictures were stolen and posted online.

Police arrested Paola Angelo Evangelista Barrameda, 28, of Vallejo after one of the women whose pictures were splashed across the Internet suspected he might be involved.

Police said Barrameda, who knew at least two of the victims through SSU, sought revenge after failing to make more of his relationships. He obtained passwords to email accounts and accessed photos that had been sent to romantic partners, police said.

He was arrested on four felony counts after the Northern California Computer Crimes Task Force helped confirm a link between him and the postings. He later pleaded guilty to lesser charges and served more than three months in jail.

During the investigation into Barrameda, detectives discovered Meyering's site, where one of the Rohnert Park woman's pictures was posted.

Winbystate.com is described as a user-supported website where people are encouraged to trade pictures of "your ex-girlfriend, your current girlfriend or any other girl you might know," the attorney general said.

Nude or explicit photos, referred to as "wins," were submitted anonymously and posted by state, sometimes using the victim's complete or partial name, the attorney general said.

More than 400 photos were in the California portion and at least one victim was under 18 at the time the picture was taken, the attorney general said.

Prosecutors said Winbystate.com required women to pay $250 through a Google Wallet account to remove the photos. The account, named TakeDownHammer, was registered to Meyering at a nonexistent Beverly Hills storefront, according to the attorney general.

Law enforcement agents purchased a "takedown" for one of the victims in Napa and traced the funds to Meyering's bank account in Tulsa, they said. Surveillance recordings showed him withdrawing money from the account, the attorney general said.

On Wednesday, Rohnert Park Detective Tara Douglas and other agents flew to Tulsa with an arrest warrant for Meyering. He is being held by local authorities pending extradition proceedings.

"We started it," Taylor said. "We wanted to make sure our detective was there to finish it."

Authorities are working with GoDaddy.com to suspend the website during the investigation and identification of additional victims, the attorney general said.

(You can reach Staff Writer PaulPayne at 568-5312 or paul.payne@pressdemocrat.com.)