An arrest has been made in a “sextortion” case, one that will have you rapidly reconsider the cautionary tales of internet predators that we mostly left behind in the late 90s.
The arrest in the sextortion case involved man named Karen Kazaryan, 27, who went by the name “Gary.” In a federal case, Kazaryan was charged with 15 counts of computer intrusion and 15 counts of aggravated identity theft, and court documents describe an alarming pattern of behavior that allegedly affected and harmed hundreds of women.
The sextortion arrest comes after a large investigation by the FBI, and the Los Angeles Times reports that Kazaryan stands accused of perpetrating the same predatorial scam on most of the women — taking charge of their social media accounts, mining for incriminating data, and allegedly using the mined information to coax further sensitive material from the victims:
“The 30-count federal grand jury indictment alleges that the Glendale resident hacked into the victims’ Facebook, Skype and email accounts, and changed the passwords, locking victims out of their own online accounts. He then allegedly searched emails or other files for naked or semi-naked pictures of the women, as well as other information, such as passwords and the names of their friends.”
Allegedly, the man arrested in the sextortion case did not stop there. Documents claim he then posed as the women he victimized, engaging their contacts in a bid to solicit further “fraudulently obtained” and “again [coercing] the [subsequent] victims to remove their clothing on camera.”
Agents say part of the sextortion scam involved publicly posting the sensitive material and naked images to the women’s social media accounts if they declined to feed Kazaryan more information.
Authorities uncovered more than 3,000 images alone before the arrest in the sextortion case and believe that, while 350 victims have been counted, not all have been identified and others may still come forward.