27-year-old Karen “Gary” Kazaryan, from Glendale, California, has been arrested by the FBI and charged with 15 counts of computer intrusion and 15 counts of aggravated identity theft.
According to the FBI, Kazaryan hacked into the email accounts of several individuals and changed their passwords to lock them out of their accounts. He searched the compromised accounts for passwords, private pictures, names of friends and other personal information.
He then used the information to contact his victims’ friends and persuaded them to remove their clothing to take pictures of them. Those who discovered the scam where blackmailed with the compromising photographs.
Kazaryan asked his victims to expose their private parts on Skype, email and Facebook. If one of them refused to comply with his demands, the hacker posted compromising photos on their Facebook pages.
When they searched his computer, investigators found around 3,000 adult pictures of women. Some of them were taken from the victims’ email accounts while others were made by the suspect on Skype.
Authorities believe that over 350 women have fallen victim to the hacker, but they haven’t been able to identify all of them. That’s why the FBI urges all women who believe they might be a victim of the man to contact the Los Angeles Field Office at (310) 477-6565.
If convicted, Kazaryan faces a maximum of 105 years in prison.
Back in December 2012, Christopher Chaney of Jacksonville, Florida, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for somewhat similar crimes. He hacked into the email accounts of over 50 celebrities and stole private pictures, letters, driver’s license details and other confidential documents.
Besides the 10-year prison sentence, he has also been ordered to pay $66,179 (51,000 EUR) in restitution.