Jared James Abrahams, a 19-year-old California man, was arrested Thursday by the FBI and charged with extortion and cybercrimes for allegedly hacking into the computers of several young women, including recently crowned Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf, and demanding money to prevent him from publicly releasing naked photos of the victims in a case of “sextortion.”
Abrahams, of Temecula, allegedly hacked into the computers of a number of young women, including Wolf, who was crowned Miss Teen USA last month. Abrahams allegedly gained access to the women’s webcams to obtain nude photos of them, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller told ABCNews.com.
Wolf, 19, said she received anonymous emails from someone who said they had nude photos of her and tried to extort her to prevent the pictures from being publicly released.
"I wasn't sure what to do," Wolf told NBC's “Today” show about the sextortion case. "So it was terrifying."
An FBI affidavit said the bureau had been investigating Abrahams since March. That’s when the agency learned about Abrahams allegedly accessing nude photos and videos of young women by hacking into their webcams. The affidavit went on to say that Abrahams emailed the victims through two AOL email accounts and sent them the nude pictures of themselves. In an alleged sextortion plot, he then threatened to make the images and videos public unless the victims gave him more nude photos, went on Skype with him and did anything he asked, or sent him a nude video.
Abrahams also allegedly threatened to ruin one of his victim’s dreams of being a model by turning her into a “porn star” by releasing the nude material.
"Either you do one of the things listed below or I upload these pics and a lot more (I have a LOT more and those are better quality) on all your accounts for everybody to see and your dream of being a model will be transformed into a pornstar [sic]," he wrote, according to the FBI affidavit.
Abrahams allegedly possessed 1,000 nude photos of one of the sextortion victims. When she demanded answers for why she was being targeted, he said, “I told you I’ll answer any questions after you Skype.”
One victim, who was only 17, pleaded with Abrahams to stop the sextortion, asking him to “have a heart.”
"I'll tell you this right now! I do NOT have a heart!!!" he allegedly responded. "However, I do stick to my deals! Also age doesn't mean a thing to me."
An FBI raid of Abrahams’ home in Temecula led to the seizure of computers and hardware, hacking software and cell phone, according to the affidavit.