BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) - U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that James S. Allen, 36, of New Baltimore, MI, has been arrested and charged with cyberstalking, trafficking in computer passwords, and making harassing telephone calls.
According to complaint, Allen used the internet and text messages to communicate with at least 10 female victims in Western New York, many of them minors, in an effort to obtain pornographic pictures of the victims.
The charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron J. Mango said that Allen would contact the victims and tell them that he found naked pictures of them on the internet. The defendant would then direct the victims to a specific website to view the pictures.
The website was actuallly a "phishing" website used to obtain the victim's private e-mail address and password.
Once the defendant gained control of the victim's e-mail accounts he would contact them and threatened to distribute naked photos of them over the internet unless they engaged in a Skype video chat with him.
The defendant used the Skype username "shhh.shhh".
Once the Skype chat began, Allen would demand the female remove their clothing and engage in sexual conduct. If they did not, he again threatened that he would send naked photos of them to others in Western New York.
Allen was arrested Thursday morning at his home in Michigan. He will appear in Federal Court in Michigan on Sept. 17th. After that, he'll be scheduled for an appearance in Western New York.
"This case is another example of why it is imperative for parents to be vigilant in monitoring the computer usage of their children, and for any user of the internet – including children – to be aware of some of the threats which exist online," said U.S. Attorney Hochul.
"In general, do not provide personal identifying information over the internet unless the website is already known to be trustworthy. If you believe that you or someone you know may have had contact with the defendant, or a user on Skype with the screen name 'shhh.shhh' please call the U.S. Attorney's Office at 1-800-320-0682 and leave a message with your contact information," Hochul said.
Further tips regarding online safety can by be found by visiting www.netsmartz.org or www.fbi.gov .
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