As an interesting follow up to a recent columm by Alan Wlasuk on on Cyber Extortion last week, comes this recent news out of Maine.
John Bryan Villegas, 21, of Kittery, Maine, was arrested Tuesday and appeared in federal court in New Hampshire. Villegas is charged with one count of engaging in computer intrusion involving extortion and one count of making extortionate interstate threats.
Villegas allegedly attempted to extort the victim, a New Hampshire resident, into providing him with sexually explicit photographs and videos of the victim. He sent the victim interstate e-mails in which he threatened to publish on the internet, and distribute to the victim’s neighbors and work and social acquaintances, other sexually explicit photographs of the victim that he obtained from a computer without authorization.
If convicted, Villegas faces a maximum sentence of two years in prison on the interstate threats charge and five years in prison on the computer intrusion charge, to be followed by up to three years of supervised release, a fine of up to $500,000 and restitution.
The rise of cyber-extortion, in various forms, is evidence of our ever-changing digital landscape. Unfortunately, we will most likely see more of this type of cybercrime in the future.