Miss Teen USA California Sextortion Scandal (18 US Code Chapter 41)

This past December, a man from Florida (name withheld for privacy) hacked into personal online accounts, including those of celebrities for the purposes of obtaining nude photographs.  In July, another man from Glendale, CA was discovered to have hacked into at least 350 women’s personal online accounts in order to extort nude photographs.  Now, a separate man of Temecula, CA has turned himself in to federal officers on charges of having hacked into a Miss Teen USA, home webcam in order to attempt to extort nude videos and pictures.

She allegedly attended high school with him and the two knew one another. He allegedly took advantage of this fact and sent her threatening emails, attempting to convince her that if she did not pose nude for photos for him or send him nude videos, that he would take compromising webcam footage from her personal computer and post it “all over the Internet,” saying that “your dream of being a model will be transformed into a porn star.”

Law enforcement officials are calling this type of crime by a new and interesting name “sextortion.”  As far back as late 2010, the FBI has attempted to alert the public to this new form of extortion. As one would imagine, it falls under the category of federal crimes related to extortion (18 US Code, Chapter 41: Extortion and Threats).  He allegedly “sextorted” other women besides her, and could be looking at charges of not only sextortion, but also identity theft (CA Penal Code 530.5) both of which carry severe penalties, depending on the number of counts and the elements of each case. For example, another man in a similar story faced the statutory maximum, which is 105 years in a federal prison.