GLENDALE, Calif. (KTLA) — A 27-year-old Glendale man is accused of victimizing hundreds of women in what’s being called a large-scale “sextortion” plot.
Karen “Gary” Kazaryan was arrested without incident on Tuesday by agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
He is charged in a federal grand jury indictment with 15 counts of computer intrusion and 15 counts of aggravated identity theft, the U.S. attorney’s office said Tuesday.
The indictment alleges that Kazaryan hacked into the victims’ Facebook, Skype and email accounts, and changed the passwords, locking victims out of their own accounts.
He then allegedly searched emails or other files for naked or semi-naked pictures of the women, as well as other information, such as passwords and the names of their friends.
Kazaryan then posed online as those women and sent instant messages to their friends, coaxing them into removing their clothing so that he could view and take pictures of them, according to the indictment.
When those victims found out someone else had posed as their friend, Kazaryan used the photos to “again coerce the victims to remove their clothing on camera,” according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
Federal agents said Kazaryan repeatedly contacted his victims and demanded that they expose their breasts to him on Skype.
Kazaryan also allegedly posted nude photos of some victims on their Facebook pages when they failed to comply with his demands.
In all, authorities recovered about 3,000 pictures of nude or semi-nude women, including those allegedly taken by Kazaryan.
Investigators estimate that Kazaryan victimized more than 350 women, but have not yet identified all of the women whose accounts were hacked.
Following Tuesday’s court hearing, family members of Kazaryan ran from reporters asking about the defendant’s past.
Kazaryan’s bail is set at $75,000. He faces 105 years in federal prison if convicted on all counts.
Possible victims or anyone with information about the case is asked to call the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office at (310) 477-6565.