Former Classmate Pleads Guilty in Miss Teen USA "Sextortion" Case

The beauty queen's former high school classmate was accused of hacking into her webcam and taking compromising videos and photos

By Samantha Tata
|  Tuesday, Nov 12, 2013  |  Updated 5:34 PM CDT
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Venezuelan Crowned Miss Universe 2013

Cassidy Wolf, left, and Jared Abrahams

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Sextortion Suspect, Miss Teen USA Were HS Peers

Jared James Abrahams, 19, appeared in federal court on Thursday to face charges he extorted sexual images from young women, including his former classmate Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf. Tony Shin reports from Temecula for NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Sept. 26, 2013.
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A 19-year-old from Southern California pleaded guilty Tuesday in an alleged “sextortion” scheme involving women from around the world and this year’s Miss Teen USA.

Jared James Abrahams, of Temecula, Calif., was arrested Sept. 26 on suspicion of anonymously using malicious software to hack into women’s webcams, take control of their computers and capture nude photos or videos, according to the FBI.

He then allegedly sent emails to those women and threatened to publish the compromising photos or otherwise harm their reputations.

Abrahams pleaded guilty Tuesday morning to three counts of extortion and one count of hacking under a plea agreement, according to court documents.

One of the alleged victims was Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf, officials said. The pair attended Great Oaks High School together for four years, graduating in 2012.

The FBI believes there are more victims elsewhere in the country and in Ireland, Canada, Russia and Moldova, according to court records. An investigation into the alleged “sextortion” began in March 2013 and continued for several months.

Abrahams was released on $50,000 bond in late September. He will remain on bond until his sentencing, which is scheduled for March 17, 2014.

A judge had allowed the teen -- who has been diagnosed with autism -- to go home with his parents, with conditions.

Abrahams was ordered to wear a GPS monitoring bracelet, allowed only to leave his home to attend school, and is not allowed to have a smartphone.

Monitoring software was installed in the computer used by Abrahams, according to the FBI.

The maximum sentence for all counts Abrahams pleaded guilty to is 11 years in prison, three years' probation and a fine of at least $1 million, according to court documents.

The hacking incident involving Wolf is the latest in a string of so-called "sextortion" cases involving individuals who have used email accounts, social media or a computer's own hardware to glean compromising information or images.

A judge sentenced 35-year-old Christopher Chaney of Florida to 10 years in federal prison in December for hacking into the e-mail accounts of several celebrities, including Mila Kunis, Christina Aguilera and Scarlett Johansson.

In July, Karen "Gary" Kazaryan of California pleaded guilty in a "sextortion" case in which he targeted 350 women and coerced them into showing him their naked pictures. Prosecutors alleged that Kazaryan hacked into the Facebook, Skype and email accounts of his victims to coerce them into removing their clothing on camera.

NBC News' Andrew Blankstein contributed to this report.

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