SANTA ANA — A 19-year-old man was charged Thursday with hacking webcams at the home of Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf and other women to extort nude photos and videos from them, with authorities contending he forced several women to strip.
Jared James Abrahams of Temecula surrendered to agents at the FBI office in Orange County to face a charge of extortion that could send him to federal prison for up to two years, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.
He was later freed on $50,000 bail but a judge confined him to his family home, ordered him to wear a GPS monitor, and said he could only use the home computer for schoolwork, with software to be installed that will monitor its use.
Miss Teen USA 2013
Authorities said Abrahams knew Wolf, a 19-year-old graduate of Great Oak High School in Temecula who won the Miss Teen USA crown Aug. 9. She is identified only by her initials in the criminal complaint.
Last month, Wolf told the website of NBC's "Today" show that earlier this year she received an anonymous email in which the sender claimed to have stolen images from the camera on her home computer.
The sender of the email threatened to go public with images captured from Wolf's webcam unless she would provide nude pictures of herself, Eimiller said — a crime commonly known as "sextortion."
Instead, Wolf went to authorities, and an investigation was launched in March.
A federal complaint filed on Sept. 17 and unsealed Thursday charges him with extortion but Eimiller said other charges are possible.
An FBI agent's affidavit, included in the complaint, contends that Abrahams used malicious software to remotely operate webcams to capture nude photos and videos of at least seven women as they changed clothes — some of whom he knew personally and others he found by hacking Facebook pages.