A 19-year-old man was charged yesterday 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 FBI agents to face an extortion charge—other charges are possible—that could send him to federal prison for up to two years, an FBI spokesperson says. Authorities say Abrahams knew Wolf, 19, who won the Miss Teen USA crown Aug. 9. 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 threatened to go public with images captured from Wolf's webcam unless she would provide nude pictures of herself, the FBI says, a crime commonly known as "sextortion." He allegedly threatened to release nude photos of Wolf "all over the Internet" and said, "Your dream of being a model will be transformed into a pornstar." Instead, Wolf went to authorities, and an investigation was launched in March. The FBI accuses Abrahams of using 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—then threatening to post those images on the women's hacked social media accounts unless they sent him nude photos or videos or video-chatted with him and followed his orders, which allegedly included stripping, for five minutes. (Read more Miss Teen USA stories.)