Arrest in Miss Teen USA extortion attempt
SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A 19-year-old man was arrested Thursday in an investigation into the hacking of webcams at the homes of Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf and other young women in an attempt to extort nude photographs and videos, the FBI said.
Jared James Abrahams of Temecula surrendered to agents at the FBI office in Orange County, said FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller.
He was scheduled to be in federal court in Santa Ana later in the day, Eimiller said.
Wolf, a 19-year-old graduate of Great Oak High School in Temecula, won the Miss Teen USA crown Aug. 9. According to the criminal complaint that names her by initials, she was one of several female victims. The other victims were not identified.
Last month, Wolf told the website of NBC’s “Today” show that earlier this year she received an anonymous email in which the sender claimed to have stolen images from the camera on her home computer.
The sender of the email threatened to go public with images captured from Wolf’s webcam unless she would provide nude pictures of herself, Eimiller said.
Instead, Wolf went to authorities.
Based on an investigation launched in March the FBI said there were “multiple” victims from Riverside County, where Temecula is located, and beyond.
According to the complaint, Abrahams used malicious software to disguise his identity in order to capture nude photos or videos of victims through remote operation of cameras on their home computers without their consent. He allegedly contacted some victims using others’ email accounts he had taken over. Abrahams, the complaint alleges, threatened to make public the images and videos unless they submitted to one of three demands: send nude photos, send a nude video, or log onto Skype and do what he says for five minutes.
FBI agents raided Abrahams’ Temecula home in June and seized computers and hardware, cellphones and hacking software, court records show.
Wolf, who was Miss California Teen USA, has said she would use her fame to highlight cybercrime.
Wolf’s mother recently told The Press-Enterprise of Riverside that her daughter was in New York, where she was planning to attend the New York Film Academy.
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