network of Arizona-based Internet companies that used public records to demand
money from sex offenders and harass those who complained has imploded amid
lawsuits, court hearings and new standards enacted by banks, social media and
websites, including Offendex.com, SORArchives and Sexoffenderrecord.com, in
November stopped seeking payments from people in exchange for removing
profiles, blaming the change on "many conflicts, threats, unreasonable
requests and false accusations about this website."
followed decisions by MasterCard, Visa, Discover and PayPal to stop processing
transactions from what many describe as extortion websites. Google also changed
its formula to prevent sites from using search-engine algorithms to increase
viewership and monetize on public records such as police mugshots.
A Call 12
for Action investigation, published in May, found that the Arizona-based
sex-offender sites mined data compiled by law-enforcement agencies across the
country and used it to collect money. Operators of the sites did not always
take down profiles after payments were made and launched online harassment
campaigns against those who balked at financial demands or filed complaints.
investigation found the websites listed individuals as sex offenders who no
longer were required to register or whose names had been removed from
sex-offender databases. The sites also included names and personal information
of people who had never been arrested or convicted of a sex crime.
interview with Call 12 for Action last month, website operator Brent Oesterblad
accused owner Charles "Chuck" Rodrick of taking elaborate steps to
conceal his ownership of the websites and misleading state and federal judges
about it. Oesterblad's comments were backed by court testimony and banking
have personal knowledge that Rodrick has misrepresented the facts of his
ownership of the sex-offender websites to his former wife, to the Maricopa
County Superior Court and to U.S. District Courts in California
Oesterblad said in a affidavit filed last month in federal court.
52, of Cave Creek, has refused interviews for more than a year and would not
speak about the websites after a Feb. 19 court hearing in Maricopa County
and Oesterblad, both of whom were convicted on fraud-related charges in the
early 1990s, are at the center of several state and two federal lawsuits. Sex
offenders and others named on the websites have accused them of running an
extortion racket. Rodrick and Oesterblad are also accused of posting inaccurate
or old information and using the threat of exposure as leverage in their
responded to allegations by filing defamation lawsuits against some of his
detractors, including his ex-wife and her boyfriend, both of whom were profiled
on the sex-offender websites even though neither has a criminal record. Rodrick
has also sued their lawyers.
filings, Rodrick repeatedly has denied owning the websites. In a federal
declaration last year, he said he lacked "ownership interest in any of the
companies that own the websites" and does "not have control over the
websites as an owner."
told Call 12 for Action he helped disguise Rodrick's ownership interest by
opening bank accounts and filing corporation papers for him. He said Rodrick
further hid his role by registering website domain names in foreign countries
and running them through proxy servers. His claims are backed by court records
who defended his work managing the sex-offender sites, said they did not start
out as a way to demand money from offenders.
wasn't supposed to be a 'take-down' service. It started purely as an alert
service," he said in the interview, adding that when the sites failed to
make money "(Rodrick) made a command decision ... to do something to
records lay out connection to websites, forensic computer specialist says Financial
records, including checks, credit-card receipts, tax documents and bank-account
data, presented in court last month provided a picture of Rodrick's involvement
in the websites.
is receiving money would have control over the websites," according to Phoenix forensic computer
specialist Juan Lorenzana, who testified against Rodrick in Superior Court in
February. "Revenue is flowing to him through the websites."
president of JEL Enterprises Inc., testified it was impossible to track the
websites themselves to Rodrick. But money going from the sex-offender websites
painted a road map that led directly to Rodrick, Lorenzana testified.
financial transactions detailed in court were tens of thousands of dollars to
Rodrick's girlfriend, Traci Heisig.
who is a court reporter and owns Desert Hills Reporting in Phoenix,
is a joint plaintiff in the defamation suit against Rodrick's ex-wife, her
boyfriend and a sex offender in Washington.
records presented in court showed $80,000 from the websites went to help Heisig
buy a condominium in Rocky Point,
$13,000 to buy her jewelry. The account was also used to make multiple payments
of about $5,000 for Heisig's office lease on Camelback Road and for a $5,000 personal
check, records showed.
did not respond to an interview request made through her lawyer.
said in court the sex-offender websites generated revenue through two sources:
removal fees and ad revenue generated by the sites. Money to Rodrick could be
tracked through ClickBank information provided on the websites, Lorenzana said.
is a mechanism that generates revenue for websites based on traffic and product
promotion. Lorenzana said money from the websites went to bank accounts used by
an affiliated company called Civic Sentry, which does business as Web Express
to corporation documents, Oesterblad is the sole manager of Civic Sentry.
who doesn't have a lawyer, repeatedly suggested in court he wasn't the owner of
the sites because his name is not on corporation filings. But Lorenzana
maintained Rodrick's singular control of the money proved his control and
ownership of the websites.
County Superior Court judge sets deadline to remove all posts about defendants.
has been aided in document preparation for his legal fight by a felon who works
at a polygraph school, claims to have a background in paralegal work and lists
J.D. after her name in a school catalog, implying she has a law degree.
records show Kelley Bradbury served eight years in a Colorado prison for theft beginning in 1997.
resume for the Polygraph School of Science in Phoenix,
Bradbury lists among her credentials a degree in paralegal studies from RioSaladoCollege. In the current
school catalog, she lists her name as "Kelley Bradbury, M.S., J.D."
Bar of Arizona has no listing for Bradbury, meaning she is not licensed to
practice law in the state. RioSaladoCollege
officials also say records show Bradbury took paralegal classes but never
earned a degree.
say she obtained a "certificate of completion in airline operations."
did not return multiple calls seeking comment about her background.
and computer records show Bradbury has assisted Rodrick with court motions. On
a Web page, a person named Kelley Bradbury posted comments about one of the
people involved in the federal suit against Rodrick and defended the
feel much safer knowing that sites like www.offendex.com
are out there!" a person identified as Bradbury wrote. "If you didn't
want your information made public you should not have committed a sex
could become problematic for Rodrick. The February court hearings involved a
request for sanctions against him for posts on websites about defendants in the
e-mail this month, a plaintiff in the federal-racketeering case whom Rodrick
sued for defamation wrote an e-mail telling Rodrick to remove the content.
would request that your ... document preparer remove the slime she has up about
me," Adam Galvez of Washington
wrote. "She's a part of this case. If she does not remove this I will be
informing the court."
cross-examining witnesses during the hearing, Rodrick repeatedly asserted no
evidence existed to show he posted the information to the sites.
in the hearing, Rodrick tried to broker a deal, offering to take down the
Court Judge Katherine Cooper responded by imposing a deadline for Rodrick to
remove all posts about the defendants or face arrest.
24, Cooper issued a civil arrest warrant for Rodrick, which she later
law-enforcement action taken against operators of sex-offender websites
for Action last year found that not all of the people listed on the
sex-offender websites are registered sex offenders. Some have no criminal
records. Yet their names, addresses and other personal information were put on
the sex-offender websites for anyone with an Internet connection to view.
challenged Rodrick and Oesterblad said the interactions frequently turned ugly,
with intimidating calls, vitriolic e-mails and threats of lawsuits. Pictures of
offenders' family members were posted on the websites along with their
addresses. In another case, an offender's Facebook friends were added to the
you like Facebook so much ... we have added your 65 friends to your page on
Offendex," an e-mail from website operators stated.
cases, the websites profiled offenders whose names had been removed from state
police and departments of correction generally are responsible for maintaining
official sex-offender registries, which can include an offender's name,
photograph, physical characteristics, addresses and description of the crime.
offenders are sometimes removed from state registries because their crimes have
been reclassified and no longer are considered serious enough to require
registration. Some offenders are required to register only with law
enforcement, and their names would not appear on public registries.
have done their time and have sought court orders to remove their names from
state and national registries.
websites advertised records for 750,000 sex offenders. The sites promised to
protect families from the menace of sex offenders in their neighborhoods by
providing access to present and past criminal records.
about the websites have been made with attorneys general in at least five
states, including Arizona.
Complaints also have been submitted to the FBI, the Federal Trade Commission
and the InternetCrimeComplaintCenter, which works with
the FBI to refer Internet criminal cases to various agencies.
this month, no law-enforcement agency has taken action against Rodrick and
Oesterblad over the websites, records show.
52, and Oesterblad, 53, both have felony convictions on fraud-related charges.
pleaded guilty in 1993 to selling illegal cable-television descramblers with
fraudulent intent. In 1996, he was sued in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for his role
in an Alaskan Ponzi scheme that cost investors as much as $50 million. A final
judgment of $58,900 was entered against him. Court records do not show any
payments were made.
pleaded guilty in 1992 for his part in a frequent-flier scam operated out of
his family's Phoenix
travel agency and spent 10 months in a federal prison.
employee said a dispute over money spurred him to testify in civil cases
sex-offender websites were built using data copied directly from official
law-enforcement websites, Call 12 found.
Souhrada, a former Tempe software developer and
computer engineer now living in California,
said in an interview last year that he designed the sex-offender websites for
Rodrick as subscription services, not as vehicles to target offenders for cash.
said he designed the sex-offender sites from data he scraped from official
registries maintained by law-enforcement agencies across the country. He said
he reformatted the data into his own templates that Rodrick used for websites
such as Offendex.
said the origin of the sex-offender sites goes back to 1999 when he and Rodrick
owned an Internet-based subscription service to access public records called
Spyheadquarters.com. The name was later changed to Onlinedetective.com.
the demand for subscriptions to search public records plummeted. Oesterblad
said he and Rodrick didn't have another company together until 2011, when
Rodrick approached him about a new website called Offendex.com to collect money
from sex offenders.
said Rodrick was in the middle of a divorce case and asked him to register the
new company with the Arizona Corporation Commission and open bank accounts.
did not know then, but believe now, that Rodrick established the name Web
Express Ventures in order to hide income and other assets from his estranged
wife," Oesterblad wrote in his federal court declaration.
peak, the sex-offender websites were bringing in an estimated $35,000 per
month, Oesterblad said during last month's interview.
described his role in the website as a contract employee. He said Rodrick paid
him 50 percent commission on money he collected from sex offenders through the
removal process. He also said his job was to communicate with offenders.
the one who had to talk to the angry perps on the phone," Oesterblad said,
adding that he has no regrets about firing off angry e-mails to offenders and
rubbing their faces in the graphic details of their crimes. "I was the
end of 2012, Offendex was getting a lot of negative attention on the Internet
and elsewhere. Days after Call 12 for Action sought interviews with Rodrick in
December, he changed the name of the site to SORArchives.
said the real blow for the company came after complaints from around the
country about similar websites led credit-card and payment-processing companies
to reject payments on behalf of the websites. Google also changed its formulas
so the sites were buried on the Web.
subsequently learned that he and the SORArchives.com website was under
investigation for possible criminal activities," Oesterblad said in his
said that Rodrick told him he learned Maricopa County Attorney Bill
Montgomery's office had opened a criminal investigation into the websites.
criminal charges have been filed.
said he decided to testify in the civil cases after he and Rodrick had a
dispute over $808. Oesterblad said Rodrick refused to pay him for work he did
on the websites and then pushed him out of a future project.
he felt betrayed and as if he had wasted two years of his life.
agreed to talk to everybody. I agreed to tell the truth," Oesterblad said
in the interview. "I can acknowledge my naivete and stupidity for being a
2012, Call 12 for Action received a complaint call from a consumer alleging
that a Valley-based company was engaged in online extortion. Reporter Robert
Anglen set out to investigate those claims and found that sex-offender websites
were demanding money to remove profiles from the Web. To trace the operators of
those websites, Anglen combed through hundreds of pages of court records,
business filings and property records.