An alleged Southern California criminal and troll used the online name "cutefuzzypuppy" and hacked into the computers of several females to capture nude webcam images, federal authorities say. They allege that he then threatened to post the photos online if the women -- and, in one case, a 17-year-old girl -- didn't put on sexual displays for him via Skype, prosecutors said.
The FBI calls it a case of "sextortion." The bureau announced that a federal extortion complaint against 19-year-old Temecula resident Jared James Abrahams has been unsealed. He was arrested today:
In the case of the 17-year-old, allegedly extorted into Skyping with Abrahams, feds say the two had this exchange beforehand:
The victim: I'm downloading Skype now. Please remember I'm only 17. Have a heart.
Abrahams: I'll tell you this right now! I do NOT have a heart!!! However I do stick to my deals! Also age doesn't mean a thing to me!!!
In another case, feds allege, Abrahams guessed the password of a victim and posted as her Facebook profile pic a half-nude photo of her he had captured via hacking.
The FBI started investigating the case in March. If prosecutors are to be believed, the suspect left a pretty obvious digital trail, including evidence that he researched just how to carry out his hacking-based sextortion. The FBI in L.A. states:
A forensic analysis of C.W.'s computer revealed evidence consistent with malware and remote administration tools later linked to Abrahams, who used the domain name "cutefuzzypuppy." The same domain name was also linked to discussion boards in hacker forums by a participant researching, among other things, ways to spread malware and control webcams, according to the complaint.
Feds say Abrahams revealed his hacked imagery to victims and told them he'd post them "all over the Internet" if they didn't consent to a five-minute Skype session.
He told the aforementioned Facebook victim that he would turn her "dream of being a model ... into a porn star," the FBI alleges.
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Agents say the teen admitted to his activities during an interview with authorities. Victims turned up in Ireland, Canada, Russia and Moldova, feds said.
But they believe more are out there. If you or anyone you know thinks they might have been victimized by the suspect, the FBI would like to hear from you: 310-477-6565.
Abrahams, by the way, faces as many as two years behind federal bars if he's successfully convicted.