A federal grand jury in the Central District of California has turned in a 30-count indictment against 27-year-old hacker Karen "Gary" Kazaryan, a resident from Glendale, Calif. If convicted on all 30 counts, including 15 counts of computer intrusion and 15 counts of aggravated identity theft, Kazaryan could face up to 105 years in federal prison.
According to the indictment released early Wednesday morning, Kazaryan allegedly hacked his way into hundreds of online accounts, using personal information and nude or semi-nude photos of his victims to coerce more than 350 female victims to show him their naked bodies, usually over Skype. By posing as a friend, Kazaryan allegedly tricked these women into stripping for him on camera, allegedly capturing more than 3,000 images of these women to blackmail them.
Several victims allegedly realized that Kazaryan was not their female friend, but following any kind of confrontation or non-compliance, Kazaryan allegedly used the nude photos he captured of the victims against themselves, posting their own nude photos on their Facebook pages.
Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office, told the Associated Press that "most of the victims were local."
Kazaryan, who was finally arrested on Tuesday, allegedly victimized more than 350 women in total. The investigation is ongoing, but federal agents have discovered some 3,000 nude or semi-nude photos on Kazaryan's computers.
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Perhaps what's scariest about this situation is the fact that Kazaryan's alleged online criminality occurred over popular online platforms that millions of people use everyday, like Skype and Facebook, which means you don't have to be deeply entrenched in technology to be taken advantage of.
FBI investigators say not all of Kazaryan's victims have been identified yet. That said, if you believe you were a possible victim in this case or know someone who was, please contact the FBI's Los Angeles Field Office at (310) 477-6565.