Stephen Bear made £22,000 through criminal acts, Economic Crime Unit investigation proves
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“From the bottom of my heart, I just want to say thank you for being so supportive, to you and everyone at Essex Police force. I will be grateful for the rest of my life.”
A man who was previously found guilty of ‘revenge porn’ offences will appear in court again in March after our officers proved he made more than £22,000 from his crimes.
Stephen Henry Bear, 33, from London appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court on Friday 26 January for a hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Bear had previously been convicted of voyeurism, disclosing private sexual images without consent and breach of bail conditions. This hearing was to determine how much Bear had profited from his actions.
Concluding the hearing, Judge Christopher Morgan agreed with the case put forward by specialist financial investigators in our Economic Crime Unit, and the Crown Prosecution Service, and agreed Bear generated £22,305.46 by sharing the private material.
A further hearing will take place on 4 March to determine whether this money will be paid as compensation to the victim or as a confiscation order.
Bear’s conviction followed a two-year-investigation by Essex Police’s Domestic Abuse Team. The victim in the case, Georgia Harrison previously thanked Essex Police saying: “It changed my life. My only option was to go to the police and thank God I did. Two years of hard work from Essex Police and I really do feel like I’ve got my justice.”
Following Bear’s sentence, a further investigation was launched by our Economic Crime Unit to evaluate whether Bear had financially benefitted from illegally posting the private video online.
Bear had posted the video onto OnlyFans, where an individual’s account can run off monthly subscriptions, pay per view media, pay per view live streams and tips. Those who sell their content receive 80% of the revenue.
Enquiries showed that on 8 November 2020, the @hollywoodbear account had alerted all subscribers to the video so that it could be viewed by any of his 1061 subscribers who paid $9.99 to view it. 273 subscribers paid this meaning that following the conversion rate and a 20% reduction, the total Bear had profited from directly the video was £1,650.98.
Further enquiries by Financial Investigator Laura Mackenzie, from Essex Police’s Economic Crime Unit revealed that Bear had made several changes to his subscription fee. These ranged between $7.50 and $50. It was believed that Bear had made these changes to financially benefit even further from the interest that the video had generated on social media.
Financial Investigator Laura Mackenzie said:
“Our enquiries showed exactly how much Bear had made from the video and how he used the interest it was generating to attract people to his OnlyFans account. "Whilst this financial investigation was ongoing, Bear made things extremely difficult and breached a restraint order placed upon him by not saying where the money from his house sale was. We determined that the total amount we should apply for at the hearing was £22,305.46.”
Chief Superintendent Claire Talbot said:
“This money does not place a value on the damage caused by Bear and his offences, which will stay with the victim forever. “Our priority throughout has been to hold Bear accountable for his actions and get justice for the victim. "Our specialist officers from our Economic Crime Unit have undertaken hours of work to determine how much was made as a result of these crimes. "The fact that Bear profited from the humiliation he caused Georgia Harrison is despicable. I commend Georgia, not just for her strength throughout the investigation but for her actions over the past year which has raised awareness of revenge porn offences and no doubt supported other victims. "I hope that the conclusion of this hearing today demonstrates that Essex Police will take all measures to ensure justice and will not let criminals believe that crime will pay. This sends a clear message to those who believe that these crimes are acceptable need to reflect on their behaviour before you are held to account.”
Essex Police #Reflect campaign
Essex Police has a #Reflect campaign aimed at perpetrators encouraging them to consider their own actions, seek help and break the cycle of abuse. We will continue to take our messaging into communities via digital screens at railway and bus stations and in High Streets from next month as well as adverts on ITV.
The campaign was launched in 2022 and has since had more than 500 contacts to our partners at The Change Project which offers support and welfare services to help perpetrators turn their lives around.
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