SANTA ANA (CBS/AP) — A Temecula college student Monday was sentenced to 18 months in jail for hacking the computers of Miss Teen USA and other women as part of a scam to obtain nude photos.
Jared James Abrahams pleaded guilty in late October to one count of online extortion.
Authorities say Abrahams told at least 12 women he had obtained nude photos of them by taking over their computers’ webcams.
“We had hacking, but then we had takeovers where the defendant was essentially going on people’s webcams and taking photos of young women,” U.S. Attorney Vib Mittal said.
Abrahams would then threaten to post the photos online if they didn’t agree to have online video phone conversations with him or send him more nude images of themselves.
According to the court documents, Abrahams posted nude photos of Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf on Facebook when she did not respond to his extortion. The photos of Wolf were taken by Abrahams through a camera on her computer after he hacked into it, first at her Orange County home and later following her move to Temecula, according to the FBI.
Wolf, whom Abrahams knew from high school, contacted the FBI after she was threatened and “terrified.”
Wolf’s mother told the judge that her family needed protection from the sexual predator and wanted Abrahams to get the strongest sentence for spying on her daughter.
“The threat was basically…if you don’t give me more naked images, videos or go on Skype with me for five minutes in a dress and do what I tell you, he’s going to post more images online,” Mittal said.
Abrahams’ family told the judge that he has autism, he has the maturity of a 12-year-old boy and that he has been receiving treatment at UCLA for mental health issues.
Abrahams said he thought he could use the computer to have more intimate relationships, not to be hurtful or mean.
“It’s what, in part, led to the behavior. We acknowledge that it was criminal, we acknowledge that it should not be minimized. But one must look at the offender also in giving a sentence,” Defense Attorney Alan Eisner said.
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