(GLENDALE, Calif.) — An online “sextortionist” coerced as many as 350 women — some of them minors — into stripping for him, and then used the nude photos to blackmail them into continuing to strip, federal authorities said.
Karen “Gary” Kazaryan, 27, of Glendale, Calif., is charged with 15 counts of computer intrusion and 15 counts of aggravated identity theft, according to a federal indictment.
Authorities found approximately 3,000 pictures of nude or semi-nude women on Kazaryan’s computer, which appeared to have been stolen from the personal accounts of women or taken by Kazaryan on Skype, an FBI release said.
Special agents arrested Kazaryan on Tuesday. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment.
According to the indictment, Kazaryan would hack into the various accounts of his victims, including Facebook, email and Skype, and change the passwords. He would then use his unauthorized access to “obtain information belonging to the victims from the accounts, including pictures, communications, and information about other accounts,” the indictment said.
Armed with personal information, authorities allege Kazaryan would then pose as a female friend online and “fraudulently persuade, or extort, those individuals into removing their clothes.”
When the victims discovered they had been duped and confronted Kazaryan, he would blackmail them with the nude photos he had already obtained in order to coerce more stripping, according to the indictment.
In some cases, he allegedly posted nude photos of his victims on their Facebook pages when they did not comply, according to an FBI news release.
Authorities said Kazaryan may have vicitmized as many as 350 women, some of whom were underage at the time.
If convicted on all counts, Kazaryan faces a maximum of 105 years in federal prison.
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Sophie Tatum, CNN
Chris Isidore, CNN
Katie Lobosco, CNN
Steve Almasy and Keith Allen, CNN