See the update at the end of this post on Jared James Abrahams pleading guilty today.
ORIGINAL POST, NOVE. 4, 7:30 A.M.: A 19-year-old college freshman from Temecula is due in federal court in Santa Ana today to set a date to sign a plea deal in the online "sextortion" scheme that targeted females around the world, including this year's Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf.
Jared James Abrahams had signed a plea agreement with prosecutors on Oct. 22, and the documents were reportedly filed on Friday. They indicate the feds want Abrahams to do 27-33 months in prison.
The maximum sentence for the charges against him are 11 years, plus three years of supervised release and a $1 million fine for unauthorized access to computers and extortion, according to City News Service.
The hacker took control of teen and young women's computers and extorted them into sending him nude photos or videos of themselves or engaging in nasty Skype sessions. The case began to unravel in March when 18-year-old Wolf alerted the FBI that she'd received an alert from a social networking site advising of a failed attempt to change her password. She later discovered her passwords had been changed on multiple online accounts and that one online profile featured a half-nude picture of her she did not authorize. She passed along to the feds an e-mail that offered her the choice of complying with the anonymous hacker or having her nude photographs posted "all over the Internet."
The subsequent FBI investigation traced the e-mails back to Abrahams, and for the next several months he was tracked hacking into multiple victims' online accounts around the world via malicious software and tools to disguise his identity.
"Defendant extorted at least 12 young women in their late teens or early twenties in this manner," according to the plea agreement.
Abrahams' parents apologized on behalf of the teen and his lawyer explained he'd been treated for autism as he surrender to the FBI in Orange in September, shortly before U.S. District Judge Jean Rosenbluth set his bail at $50,000, required him to wear a GPS ankle monitor and remain confined to his home upon release from custody.
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UPDATE, NOV. 12, 1:15 P.M.: Jared James Abrahams pleaded guilty in Santa Ana's federal courtroom today to extortion.
During the change-of-plea hearing before U.S. District Judge Arthur Nakazato, Abrahams also acknowledged responsibility for his actions, according to City News Service.
He remains free on bond pending sentencing scheduled for March 17, when Nakazato could put him behind bars for two years and order him to pay $1 million in fines.