US authorities have arrested a Californian man accused of hacking online accounts to blackmail women into stripping for him on camera.
Investigators estimate that Karen ‘Gary’ Kazaryan targeted more than 350 women in his attacks, with an indictment charging him with 15 counts of computer intrusion and 15 counts of aggravated identity theft.
The FBI arrested Kazaryan on Tuesday after he was accused of hacking into women’s Facebook, Skype and email accounts to seize passwords and sensitive data before locking them out of the account. He would then pose as the women and message their friends, persuading them to remove clothing so he could take pictures of them.
When the women discovered they were not speaking to their friend, Kazaryan reportedly used the images he had captured to blackmail them into undressing on camera, threatening to post the photos online if they did not comply. When some victims refused, he allegedly posted nude photos of them on Facebook.
A Department of Justice report says “approximately 3,000 pictures of nude or semi-nude women – some of which were taken from their online accounts, and some of which were taken by Kazaryan on Skype” were found on Kazaryan’s computer.
“If convicted on all counts, Kazaryan faces a statutory maximum penalty of 105 years in federal prison,” the report adds.