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Glendale News Press

Glendale man charged in 'sextortion' case that allegedly involved hundreds of women

12:48 PM PST, January 29, 2013

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A 27-year-old Glendale man was arrested Tuesday on charges that he allegedly hacked into hundreds of online social networking accounts that belonged to women who he then extorted for naked pictures, officials said.

Karen Kazaryan was charged with computer intrusion and aggravated identity theft as part of a 30-count federal indictment, which alleges he hacked into Skype, Facebook and email accounts to change the victims’ passwords and set up the extortion, according to the U.S. District Attorney’s Office.

More than 350 women were victimized as part of Kazaryan’s alleged scheme. About 3,000 nude or partially-nude photographs of women were allegedly found on his computer.

After gaining full control and access to the accounts, Kazaryan allegedly combed for nude or partially-nude photographs of the women.

He then posed as the victims when he sent messages to their friends on social networking sites and coaxed them into disrobing, according to the U.S. District Attorney’s Office.

Once they discovered they were not messaging a friend, Kazaryan allegedly extorted them by using the photographs he found in their accounts to force them to remove their clothes while on camera, according to prosecutors. If they refused, prosecutors allege Kazaryan posted nude photographs of the women on Facebook.

If convicted, Kazaryan faces up to 105 years in federal prison.

Anyone who believes they were victimized is asked to call the FBI’s Los Angeles field office at (310) 477-6565.

-- Veronica Rocha, Times Community News

Follow Veronica Rocha on Google+ and on Twitter: @VeronicaRochaLA.