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Entries in Hidden Cameras (5)

Wednesday
Oct172012

Hamptons Landlord Accused of Spying on Family with Hidden Cameras

Bruce Bennett/Michael Reynolds/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A New Jersey family who spent its summer vacation in New York's East Hampton was shocked to find their luxury rental studded with hidden cameras, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court.

The family claimed in court documents that they noticed cameras pointing directly at the beds in multiple bedrooms in the house when they were four days into their weeklong rental.

They allege that all nine members of the family who stayed at the home, including three young children, were filmed in the nude, in addition to the "bedroom activities" of the adults.

The family members are referred to only by their initials in the court documents in order to protect the identities of three minors who were filmed, according to the suit. Judd Burstein, attorney for the plaintiffs, said they wished to remain anonymous.

East Hampton police would not confirm reports that they are investigating criminal charges against Donald Torr, the owner of the home. The lawsuit alleges that Torr broke federal laws by filming sexually explicit footage of the minors, in addition to privacy laws.

Torr, a resident of Celebration, Fla., declined to speak with ABC News when reached by phone Wednesday. He told the New York Post that the cameras were installed to prevent squatters and others who might break into the home, and did not know children had been filmed.

According to court documents, the vacationers called Suffolk County police, who searched the home the following day with a search warrant and found cameras hidden in walls, heating and air conditioning ducts, and electrical outlets and pointed directly at guests in the shower, hot tub area and multiple bedrooms, according to the lawsuit.

Torr allegedly admitted to viewing all of the cameras' footage over an Internet connection when the family confronted him with a phone call.

"Defendant admitted that he was able to view any video that was recorded remotely through the Internet," the document reads. "Defendant, however, falsely claimed that all of the cameras, including those pointed towards beds and the one in the shower, had been installed only for security purposes."

The family packed up and left their rental three days early, and were refunded their money by Torr, according to documents. The rental cost $6,500 for the week, according to the rental website.

The family is now seeking more than $4 million in damages.

The Suffolk County district attorney did not return calls for comment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Aug052012

Doctors Accused of Filming Unsuspecting Women May Have Risked Careers Over 'Compulsion'

Photodisc/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A plastic surgeon to the stars and a New York City urologist have their careers on the line after they were arrested in separate incidents for allegedly filming women using hidden cameras.

Dr. Lance Everett Wyatt, a Los Angeles-based plastic surgeon, was arrested Thursday after a patient allegedly noticed a hidden camera in his office while she was disrobing. Earlier in the week in New York, Dr. Adam Levinson, a urologist, was arrested for allegedly filming up the skirts of two women while riding the subway.

Despite both suspects working in medicine, former FBI profiler and ABC News consultant Brad Garrett said the alleged acts can not be tied to the mens' career choices.

"It really has nothing to do with career, it has nothing to do what they've sworn to uphold. It all has to do with a compulsion to capture these photographs privately and then view them later," Garrett said.

A patient in Wyatt's Los Angeles office noticed a hidden camera in August of 2011 and turned it over to police, said Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen A. Trutanich.

The plastic surgeon is also accused of touching one patient inappropriately, telling her it "served a professional purpose," according to the complaint.

Wyatt faces four counts of surreptitious filming, one count of sexual battery and one count of battery, according to the Los Angeles City Attorney's office.

"Patients deserve to feel safe and secure while in the care of their physician," Trutanich said. "Our charges allege that Dr. Wyatt violated that sacred trust and he should be held accountable."

The Harvard-educated doctor, who has appeared on "The Doctors" and was featured on an episode of ABC News' "20/20," said he sees himself as a protector of patients.

"I always try to steer patients out of trouble," he said on "20/20."

Wyatt may have more victims, police said.

"There might be additional victims, so anyone who has any information needs to call the California Medical Board," said a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department.

In New York City, Dr. Adam Levinson, a respected urologist at Mount Sinai Hospital, was arrested Wednesday after he allegedly used a pen camera to film up the skirts of two women during rush hour on the subway.

Sheldon Birthwright, who used to be a screener for the Transportation Security Administration, said he spotted Levinson on the subway and noticed he had something that looked like a pen hidden in a rolled-up newspaper as the doctor stood up near a woman in a miniskirt.

"Pen is directly inside [the newspaper], just on the thigh, calmly just moving it around...I guess he was getting different angle shots of whatever he was getting," Birthwright told WABC.

Once he realized what Levinson was allegedly doing, Birthwright alerted officers, who arrested Levinson.

"It could have been anybody. It could have been my sisters, my pastor's wife, my aunts," Birthwright said. "I'm just thankful that he was caught."

Levinson has been suspended from his position at Mt. Sinai during the pending investigation, the hospital said in a statement.

Neither doctor has had any complaints filed against them, according to online records.

They also appeared to be popular with patients. Both scored high marks in the trust category on HealthGrades.com, a site that allows patients to review their doctors.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Aug032012

Two Doctors Arrested for Filming Unsuspecting Women

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Two doctors, including a prominent plastic surgeon, were busted in Los Angeles and New York in separate incidents this week for filming unsuspecting women.

Dr. Lance Everett Wyatt, a Los Angeles-based plastic surgeon, was arrested Thursday after a patient allegedly noticed a hidden camera in his office while she was disrobing. The woman ran from the office with the camera and turned it over to police, said Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen A. Trutanich.

Wyatt faces four counts of surreptitious filming, one count of batter and one count for inappropriately touching a patient, according to the Los Angeles City Attorney's office.

"Patients deserve to feel safe and secure while in the care of their physician," Trutanich said. "Our charges allege that Dr. Wyatt violated that sacred trust and he should be held accountable."

The Harvard-educated doctor, who has appeared on The Doctors and was featured on an episode of ABC News' 20/20 discussing butt augmentations for African-American women, may have more victims, police said.

"There might be additional victims, so anyone who has any information needs to call the California Medical Board," said a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department.

In New York City, Dr. Adam Levinson, a respected urologist at Mount Sinai Hospital, was arrested Wednesday after he allegedly used a pen camera to film up the skirts of two women during rush hour on the subway.

Sheldon Birthwright, who used to be a screener for the Transportation Security Administration, said he spotted Levinson on the subway and noticed he had something that looked like a pen hidden in a rolled-up newspaper as the doctor stood up near a woman in a miniskirt.

"Pen is directly inside [the newspaper], just on the thigh, calmly just moving it around...I guess he was getting different angle shots of whatever he was getting," Birthwright told WABC.

Once he realized what Levinson was allegedly doing, Birthwright alerted officers, who arrested Levinson.

Levinson has been suspended from his position at Mt. Sinai during the pending investigation, the hospital said in a statement.

Neither doctor has had any complaints filed against them, according to online records.They also appeared to be popular with patients. Both scored high marks in the trust category on HealthGrades.com, a site that allows patients to review their doctors.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec152011

More Video Voyeurs Target Public Restrooms, Dressing Rooms

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Reports of video voyeurs hiding tiny high-tech, low-cost cameras in public places are rising across the country, and many offenders are getting away with it, or getting off easy.

In October, police said James Allen Risi was caught on surveillance video at a Wal-Mart in Holly Hill, Fla., seeming to place his cell phone camera under an unsuspecting woman's dress. Police said he did the same thing at a nearby Salvation Army thrift store just weeks earlier, aiming the lens underneath the door of a dressing room as a 10-year-old girl changed clothes.

In August, police said Jonathan Willink of Monroe, La., was caught on tape placing a tiny camera in a tanning room at the health club, "Anytime Fitness," and recorded four naked women.

The Yockey family from Norfolk, Va., was on a trip to Washington, D.C., when their 5-year-old daughter said she needed to use the bathroom. When they ducked into a local Starbucks, the little girl spotted a tiny camera under the sink and told her father.

Lindsay Yockey, the young girl's mother, then left the bathroom, told the next woman waiting in line about the voyeur camera, then stormed up to the store manager, who they asked to call the police. The manager tried to offer the Yockeys a free coffee, but the family said they were furious.

Starbucks, with thousands of stores all over the country, seems to be a popular target for voyeurs. ABC's Nightline found at least seven reported cases of hidden cameras discovered inside of Starbucks locations. In one case, a man named William Zafra Velasco pled guilty after videotaping 45 women and children at a Starbucks in Glendora, Calif.

In another, a man named Jonathan Mikio Kennedy pled guilty after being caught on his own camera in Paltz, N.Y.

The Yockeys are now suing Starbucks for $1 million, arguing that the company should have been aware of this problem and should have done more to stop it. When asked how it would be possible for Starbucks to consistently check their bathrooms for hidden cameras, Yockey said they could provide more employee training.

"When you go to the most public restrooms, they have a checklist of items that they have to check to clean off," Andy Yockey said. "Making sure the toilet paper is stocked and what not. I mean, maybe training employees to look in those places -- check air vents, check behind the toilet."

Starbucks has denied any wrongdoing in the lawsuit brought against them by the Yockeys and has said, "we monitor the seating areas and rest rooms in our stores on a regular basis to identify potential safety or security concerns."

Privacy expert John Verdi said companies such as Starbucks need to do much more to stop video voyeurs.

"Starbucks strictly controls the quality of the products that are being sold in their stores. They strictly control the types of furniture and the wall hangings and the music that are played in their stores," he said. "These stores do not typically contain rogue items that just come in and install themselves. But that's exactly what we're talking about with these cameras."

Verdi said the problem is only going to get worse as cameras get more sophisticated and less expensive. A camera small enough to fit inside a toilet paper roll, powered by a 9V battery and streamed live to the Internet, was found in a Starbucks in Oregon.

The other problem is when video voyeurs are caught they are often not severely punished. In many states, voyeurism is only a misdemeanor -- meaning the perpetrator will serve less than a year in jail for the crime. Even if voyeurs are caught videotaping children, they are often not prosecuted for child pornography or added to the sex offender registry.

The person who shot the video of the Yockey's 5-year-old daughter in the Washington, D.C. Starbucks bathroom has not been caught. Her parents said she will not get over this disturbing experience for a long time.

"She's very aware of what happened," Andy Yockey said. "Even now well go to restaurants and she'll ask, 'daddy is it safe?'"

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jul292011

Hidden Cameras Found throughout Students' Florida Apartment

ABC News(TAMPA, Fla.) -- Two female Bulgarian students visiting the United States for the summer found hidden cameras in their Florida apartment this week and fear they may have been videotaped throughout their three-month stay.

Ralitsa Dzhambazova, 23, and Vanya Amokovareva, 22, discovered at least four cameras stashed throughout the apartment they were sub-leasing for the summer in both bedrooms, the bathroom and the living room area, according to police.

"This is unbelievable, but one night I had a dream that someone watch me when I was naked," said Dzhambazova.

Her nightmare came true when a male roommate pulled one of the smoke detector-like devices off the wall and discovered a camera hidden inside.  They later discovered more cameras stationed around the apartment.

Four other roommates moved out of the apartment after the cameras were found, according to Dzhambazova, a journalism student.

Det. Larry McKinnon of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Department said that in addition to the hidden cameras, a closet sealed with a padlock was discovered and, after it was open, detectives found a closed circuit TV box and a wireless router.

Police are still investigating whether or not the cameras were active and if they were connected to an outside location and being broadcast.

"You know in the beginning, I am in a strange place and I see these wires and I was thinking… do you think this is a camera?  I was joking.  I never think this is really a camera," said Dzhambazova.

Dzhambazova and Amokovareva paid $4,000 to an agency that allowed them to come to the United States for the summer to work and improve their English.

The women are subleasing the apartment from Raj Armani, a Tampa businessman, and worked as models for a business venture Armani recently created called "Pizza Babe."  Its website touts the company as a pizza place that sends out attractive women to make deliveries.

Dzhambazova said they were never paid for their work.

Police have not named Armani as a suspect, but Dzhambazova said she fears he could have been involved.  Calls to Armani were not immediately returned.

Police say that they are also investigating the possibility that the cameras existed before the girls moved in three months ago.  McKinnon said the person responsible for installing the cameras could face misdemeanor charges or, if audio was captured, a third degree felony.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio