ST. LOUIS – The man behind a controversial mugshot website now admits he is the mastermind behind the domain, despite repeatedly denying it to Fox 2/KPLR 11.
In July, our investigation led us to Edmund Tauk as the man connected to STLMugshots.com, a website accused of profiting on the misery of people who’ve made minor mistakes.
Fox 2 confronted him in July.
“One hundred percent not me,” Tauk said at the time. “The website is not mine. I’m telling you it’s not mine.”
Fox 2 confronted him after talking with people like Jardena Green, who said she was plastered on the site for failing to register her vehicle.
“It’s a sickening thing that people are using, you know, the misfortunes of other people for entertainment,” she said.
After Tauk’s denial, we learned the pictures come from the government entity called the Regional Justice Information System (REJIS). The Fox Files obtained invoices showing Tauk pays $150 a week for booking photos and arrest data that would then appear online.
Tauk still denied involvement in a follow-up phone call.
“I’m telling you again, for the 500th time, I don’t own STLMugshots,” he said.
“You’re wrong. I’m telling you this a thousand, thousand percent, I do now own STLMugshots,” Tauk said. “And I’ll say it again and again and again: I do not own STLMugshots.”
But in an answer to lawsuits filed by Green and another man, Tauk’s lawyer told the court, “defendant admits the allegations” of “doing business as STLMugshots.”
The lawsuits allege Tauk is making people pay to remove their photos - and that's illegal.
Although STLMugshots website states it “will not accept any type of payment for removal of a mugshot...” Paul Peanick felt like he was being extorted when he paid another website and his STLMugshot disappeared.
“They offered to take both of them down for $550 … or not to take them down but to de-index them, whatever that means, and so I paid them and within 48 hours they were gone,” Peanick said. “But I would recommend anyone not paying them because it’s just going to keep this kind of industry thriving.”
Tauk has stopped talking, but in his court response, his lawyer wrote Tauk denied all allegations related to “removal of postings (and) charging fees for removal...”
The STLMugshot website has not slowed down since our last report. It still posts dozens of mugshots every day.
The Missouri Attorney General’s Office said it was investigating the website.