BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - A Michigan man has been charged by federal authorities with preying on young girls across western New York.
On Wednesday, agents arrested 36-year-old James Allen of New Baltimore, MI and charged him with cyberstalking, trafficking in computer passwords and making harassing telephone calls. The U.S. Attorney's office says over a two-month period this summer, Allen used the internet and text messages to talk to at least 10 minors throughout western New York in an effort to obtain pornographic images of them.
Allen allegedly utilized a scheme where he would tell the girl he had already found naked pictures of the them online. Authorities say he would then direct the girl to a website to view the pictures, and in reality, the website was used to obtain the girl's e-mail address and password.
Once he had this information, agents say Allen would take control of the victim's e-mail account and blackmail them into video chatting with him via Skype, threatening to release naked pictures of them unless they complied. Once on Skype, Allen would allegedly threaten his victim into taking off their clothes and engaging in sexual conduct.
U.S. Attorney William Hochul said, "In general, do not provide personal identifying information over the internet unless the website is already known to be trustworthy. Further tips regarding online safety can by be found by visiting www.netsmartz.org or www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/parent-guide . Finally, 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."
If convicted on all of the charges, Allen would face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
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