A 19-year-old Californian man has been charged with “sextorting” at least seven women, including the current Miss Teen USA and a 17-year-old Irish girl.
Jared James Abrahams, a college freshman studying computer science, hijacked the women’s webcams, captured naked images of the women and then blackmailed them for more. He allegedly forced the Irish girl and Canadian woman to disrobe on camera for him.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reports that he used 30 to 40 computers to carry out these crimes. On Thursday the accused surrendered to the FBI officer in Orange County.
Abrahams has been charged with cyber crimes for hacking into the victims’ accounts. He has since been released on $50,000 bail. If found guilty he could serve up to two years in prison.
For now a judge has confined him to his family home and ordered him to wear a GPS monitor. Abrahams can only use the home computer for schoolwork, with software to be installed that will monitor its use.
His 17-year-old Irish victim, identified to the court only as M.M. #1 is said to have written to the hacker, “I'm downloading Skype now. Please remember I'm only 17. Have a heart."
He replied, "I'll tell you this right now! I do NOT have a heart!!! However I do stick to my deals! Also age doesn't mean a thing to me!!!"
According to a Sept 19 affidavit by FBI Special Agent Julie Patton, Abrahams admitted “to getting another victim identified as M.M. #1, to go on Skype and take her clothes off at his direction.”
Abrahams is accused of victimizing women in Southern California, Maryland, Ireland, Canada, Russia and Moldova, according to the complaint. It is believed that the Irish teen was the only minor among his alleged victims, of which there are at least seven.
Newly crowned Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf, who was among his victims, went public about Abraham’s efforts to extort her last month. Now that Abrahams has been identified Wolf has revealed that they went to the same school, Great Oak High School in Temecula.
In August Cassidy told NBC’s “Today” that she had received an anonymous email which said the sender had stolen images from her camera on her home computer. He allegedly told Cassidy that unless she followed his demands he would release these nude photos of her “all over the Internet” and “your dream of being a model will be transformed into a porn star.”
She went to the authorities and the investigation into Abraham’s alleged crimes was launched in March.
This case is one in a long line of what the FBI are calling “sextortion.” In July of this year Karen 'Gary' Kazaryan, of Glendale, CA, pleaded guilty to hacking into hundreds of social media and email accounts to get women to pose naked for him. It is believed he targeted as many as 350 women. In December 2012 Christopher Chaney of Florida was sentenced to ten years in prison by an LA federal judge. He broke into the personal online accounts of Scarlett Johansson, Christina Aguilera and other women.
Here’s Miss USA, formerly Miss California, Cassidy Wolf speaking to “Today” about Abraham’s arrest: