Calif. Computer Student Pleads Guilty To Taking Nude Photos of Miss Teen USABy Staff Reporter, UniversityHerald Reporter
Jared James Abrahams, a 19-year-old Southern California computer student faces 27 to 33 months in federal prison and up to $1 million in fines for hacking webcams of Cassidy Wolf, winner of 2013 Miss Teen USA and a dozen other young women to obtain nude photos and videos.
Abrahams of Temecula is also accused of sending threatening e-mails to his victims. He blackmailed them saying he would post the photos online if they didn't agree to his demands. At least two of them had fallen for his threats.
Abrahams pleaded guilty Tuesday to four counts of extortion and one count of unauthorized access of a computer under a plea agreement with prosecutors. He is due to be sentenced in March.
Admitting to the court that he was aware of extorting them, Abrahams said in court, "I hacked several girls' computers and, using their webcams, took photos of them when they weren't aware," OC Register reports. He also said that using 'malware' software, he gained unauthorized access to their webcams to take nude photos and videos.
After the hearing, Alan Eisner, his attorney said that although Abrahams is autistic, there is no escaping from the crimes.
"When Jared was first approached by law enforcement he gave them a full and complete admission ... and he pleaded guilty," Alan Eisner, his attorney, told LA Times. "There is no good reason for his activities. These were intrusions with real victims. The fact of the matter is he has autism, he is socially disconnected. We are not looking to blame his conduct on that."
"Happy to know that this nightmare is coming to an end," Wolf tweets.
According to the court records, Abrahams' victims belonged to different age groups (late teens, early 20s and some minors) and different nationalities (Southern California, Ireland, Canada, Russia and Moldova). The 'sextortion' plot started early 2012 to last through June 2013, USA Today reports.
Not all victims were strangers to Abrahams. In fact, Wolf was his former high school classmate.
Wolf exposed the plot after she failed to change her Facebook password. At one instance, she received an anonymous e-mail with nude photos of her in her own bedroom and a threat to publish the photos if she did not fulfill the demands.
An excerpt of the e-mail:
"Here's what's going to happen! "Either you do one of the things listed below or I upload these pics and a lot more ... on all your accounts for everybody to see and your dream of being a model will be transformed into a pornstar," the federal complaint states.