Miss Teen USA "Sextortion" Suspect Arrested

Miss California Teen USA 2013, Cassidy Wolf, was victim of cybercrime

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A 19-year-old man is accused of hacking into young women's computers and taking compromising photos of them, including Miss Teen USA with whom he attended high school. Investigators said he had control of some 40 computers belonging to other people. Chuck Henry reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Sept. 26, 2013.

    A 19-year-old Temecula man was arrested and charged in connection with an alleged "sextortion" scheme involving Miss Teen USA, the FBI said on Thursday.

    Jared James Abrahams was arrested on suspicion of anonymously hacking several online accounts to extort young women into sending him nude photos and video and, in some cases, accessing victims' webcams remotely to secretly snap compromising photos of them, the FBI said in a press release.

    One of the alleged victims was Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf, officials said.

    Both suspect and victim attended Great Oaks High School together for four years, graduating in 2012, NBC4 has learned. The criminal complaint alluded to them attending the same school but provided no details.

    Sextortion Suspect, Miss Teen USA Were HS Peers

    [LA] Sextortion Suspect, Miss Teen USA Were HS Peers
    Jared James Abrahams, 19, appeared in federal court on Thursday to face charges he extorted sexual images from young women, including his former classmate Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf. Tony Shin reports from Temecula for NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Sept. 26, 2013.

    Abrahams, who was arrested Thursday morning after surrendering to FBI agents in Orange County, allegedly hacked into a webcam in Wolf's Southern California bedroom in an attempt to obtain nude photographs of her, officials said.

    Abrahams -- who has been diagnosed with autism -- was charged in a federal criminal complaint unsealed Thursday in federal court.

    He was released on $50,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 4 for an arraignment.

    The judge allowed him to go home with his parents, with conditions. Abrahams must wear a GPS monitoring bracelet, can only leave his home to attend school, and is not allowed to have a smartphone.

    Monitoring software will be installed in the computer used by Abrahams, according to the FBI.

    The FBI believes there are more victims elsewhere in the country and in Ireland, Canada, Russia and Moldova, court records show.

    According to the complaint, the sextortion investigation began around March 2013 and continued for several months, as multiple victims’ online accounts were compromised, or “hacked,” by an individual later identified as Abrahams.

    The hacking incident involving Wolf is the latest in a string of so-called "sextortion" cases involving individuals who have used email accounts, social media or a computer's own hardware to glean compromising information or images.

    A judge sentenced 35-year-old Christopher Chaney of Florida to 10 years in federal prison in December for hacking into the e-mail accounts of several celebrities, including Mila Kunis, Christina Aguilera and Scarlett Johansson.

    In July, Karen "Gary" Kazaryan of California pleaded guilty in a "sextortion" case in which he targeted 350 women and coerced them into showing him their naked pictures. Prosecutors alleged that Kazaryan hacked into the Facebook, Skype and email accounts of his victims to coerce them into removing their clothing on camera.

    NBC News' Andrew Blankstein contributed to this report.

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