What is Sextortion and What are the Penalties for Sextortion?
Extortion is the use of non-physical force to compel another party to do something for you. With the growth of the Internet and social media, the crime has taken on a new form. Similar to extortion, sextortion is the use of sexual exploitation to force someone to do something for you.
Sextortion occurs when you use guilt, power or damaging information about another person to force that person to do something against his or her will. This often occurs via social media networks such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
While sextortion is not a single crime defined under California law, you could be facing charges for several crimes if you are accused of sextortion, including blackmail and bribery. To better understand the punishment for this crime, let’s take a look at some examples of sextortion and what charges the defendants faced.
Miss Teen USA Sextortionist Pleads Guilty
Jared James Abrahams, of Temecula, plead guilty to extortion and unauthorized computer access charges after he hacked into computers belonging to dozens of young women–including Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf–to obtain nude images and videos.
In court, Abrahams admitted to using malware and remote administration tools to hack the webcams of computers and take nude photos of teenage girls and young adults. He threatened to post the images online if the victims did not send him more nude photos and videos.
Abrahams faced up to 11 years in prison and fines of up to $1 million for his crimes, but was sentenced to 18 months in state prison earlier this year.
Hacker Sentenced to Six Years in Prison
Luis Mijangos, of Santa Ana, was sentenced to six years in prison after he plead guilty to charges of computer hacking and wiretapping.
Authorities said Mijangos disguised malicious software as music or videos and sent them to women and teenage girls. Through the software, Mijangos was able to infiltrate more than 100 computers and find sexually explicit photos on the computers’ memory.
He used the photos to threaten victims, even following through on one threat when he posted nude images of a woman on her friend’s MySpace page.
Consequences of Sextortion
Although no specific statute currently exists regarding sextortion in California, you can be charged with several different crimes if you commit sextortion, including:
- Child pornography (if the alleged crime involves a minor); and
Depending on the circumstances of your case, you could be charged with one or several of these crimes. Because sextortion typically involves crimes that occur over the worldwide web, you could be charged with a federal crime.
If you are accused of committing sextortion against a minor, you could be charged with sexual exploitation of a minor under 18 U.S. Code Section 2251. This law states that any person who forces or persuades a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct can face up to 30 years in federal prison.
Most sextortion crimes involve the use of a computer. If you hack a computer to commit sextortion, you could be charged with unauthorized access to a computer under 18 U.S.C. Section 1030. A felony conviction of this crime is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000.
Contact Wallin & Klarich if You are Facing Accusations of Sextortion
If you are being accused of sextortion, it is important that you understand exactly what charges you are facing and what to expect. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, you could be facing severe federal charges. Our team of experienced attorneys at Wallin & Klarich has been helping people charged with serious federal crimes for over 30 years. We can help you with your case.
With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, Wallin & Klarich has an established reputation of providing our clients with the very best legal representation.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free telephone consultation. We will get through this together.