Websites Cash-In on Internet Mugshots

Online users promised photos will be removed in return for hefty fees.
2:44 | 03/10/13

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Transcript for Websites Cash-In on Internet Mugshots
tonight a closer look at an internet business that's thriving. Websites cashing in on mugshots. They charge hefty fees, promising to take them down. But the pictures may never go away, even in the person is innocent. Abc's steve osunsami has one woman's frustrating story. Reporter: They're pictures of people in their worst moments, in their mug shots. And not just celebrities. The websites that showcase them are now a dime a dozen and charging everyday people hefty fees to take them down. Once something gets on the internet that booking photo, that mugshot photo, is going to haunt you for the rest of your life. Reporter: They legally download what police call booking photos from online arrest records, saying they're providing a public service. And the laws allow these arrest records to be shared with the public. I just don't know how to express in words how devastating this has been for me. Reporter: Sophia andrade says it feels like she's been violated twice -- first, by the husband who, in divorce papers, she claims repeatedly hit her. Here you are. Reporter: Then, by the mug shot industry, which legally published these booking photos from what she says was a false arrest after police were called to her home. She says she sent them proof showing her record was cleared, and was still asked to pay nearly $400 to have the photos removed. It's not just that I take my photograph down on this site. It comes down on this site and it pops up somewhere else. Over and over and over again. When does it stop? Reporter: In this instance, you did nothing wrong. I'm not a criminal. I'm not charged with anything. Reporter: We found a number of sites like tampa criminals.Com that refuse to remove photos for free, even when the person accused is innocent. The people making money from sites like these are difficult to track down. But we did find this man in louisiana who asked to remain in shadow. Is this a dirty business that you're in? I don't consider it dirty what I do. What I do is help people. He told us to call him t.J. And says he's a middle man hired by thousands of americansh year to remove photos and repair reputations. He wouldn't explain to us how he negotiates with the mugshot websites, but says he clek as much as $1300 for his services. The police can stops overnight. Why are we posting a mugshot of someone who missed traffic court? Why is there hey need to post their photos? Reporter: Roger bruce is pushing for a new law that would make all of these fees illegal, but only in georgia. If they can't charge a fee, why put it out there. Reporter: Sophia thinks her mugshot kept her out of work for more than a year and says this business isn't right. Steve osunsami, abc news,

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