A California man has been arrested by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation for allegedly pressuring women into stripping for him over the internet.
According to the FBI, 27-year-old Karen “Gary” Kazaryan is now facing 30 counts of hacking and identity theft.
The Glendale, California man faces 15 counts of computer intrusion and 15 counts of aggravated identity theft and if convicted of all the charges, he faces up to 105 years in prison which is essentially a life sentence.
According to the Department of Justice, federal authorities believe that the suspect was able to carry out his modus against a large number of women.
Although the FBI said that they have not identified all of the victims whose accounts were hacked by Kazaryan, they do estimate that he was able to victimize more than 350 women.
Federal authorities were able to seize his computer and when they looked, they found “approximately 3,000 pictures of nude or semi-nude women – some of which were taken from their online accounts, and some of which were taken by Kazaryan on Skype”.
Federal authorities explain that Kazaryan would gain unauthorized access to accounts owned by the victims and change their passwords. The FBI says that in other words, he “hacked” into the accounts.
After this, the true owners of the accounts would be unable to access their accounts on sites like Facebook and services like Skype.
While the owners of the accounts are locked out, the suspect allegedly looked for private photos he could use to blackmail the victims. These photos include naughty photos.
As for the “sextortion” part, the suspect is said to have contacted the victims and either pretend to be a woman or a friend and persuade them to strip for him on webcam.
If the victims refused, Kazaryan would allegedly blackmail the victims into doing his bidding by threatening to release to the public the photos he took from their accounts.
According to the announcement by the DOJ, Kazaryan has posted nude photos of his victims on their own accounts on sites like Facebook when these victims would not comply with his demands.
Kazaryan is said to have used the Facebook accounts of his victims to befriend other victims and continue his work.
Often, the suspect would ask the women he victimized to expose their breasts in a chat on Skype, the DOJ said in its announcement.
The DOJ is asking victims of Kazaryan to come forward and contact the Los Angeles Field Office of the FBI at (310) 477-6565.
Image from Zen Sutherland on Flickr (CC)