Sextortion Photos Of Miss Teen USA Lead To Charges For California Teen

Nathan Francis

Sextortion photos of the reigning Miss Teen USA have landed a landed a California teenager in jail, and police say many other women may have been victims of his elaborate ruse.

FBI agents in Temecula arrested 19-year-old Jared James Abrahams, who they say threatened to publicize naked photos of Cassidy Wolf, another Temecula resident who was crowned Miss Teen USA in August. Abrahams has been charged with cybercrimes and extortion, FBI officials said.

The story of the sextortion photos went public not long after Wolf was crowned Miss Teen USA. In mid-August FBI agents disclosed that after an investigation that lasted several months, they had a suspect in the case.

The FBI did not provide further details, but Wolf discussed the incident, saying someone had gained access to her webcam and stole the pictures. She learned about the theft after receiving an anonymous email trying to extort her in exchange for keeping the pictures private.

FBI officials say Abraham has confessed to using the scheme on a number of other women.

The sextortion photos of Miss Teen USA were similar to another high-profile hacking case against celebrities, including Scarlett Johansson and Mila Kunis. Police said 35-year-old Florida resident Christopher Chaney hacked e-mails almost daily for two years to pilfer accounts of 50 people in the entertainment industry.

But unlike that case, where a hacker stole already taken nude photos that celebrities were keeping on their computers, Abraham's case appears to be different. FBI officials said he would use the victims' own webcams to take the pictures himself.

"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," a police report said.

FBI agents said after emailing the sextortion photos to his victims, Abrahams would threaten to post them to their social media accounts unless they either sent naked photos or "engaged in a Skype session with him and did what he said for five minutes."