A Torrance man who was an active-duty Marine at Camp Pendleton pleaded guilty in a “sextortion campaign,” during which he cyberstalked young women with ties to his hometown, federal officials announced Friday.
From 2019 through 2021, Johao Miguel Chavarri, aka Michael Frito, 25, stalked and sent anonymous threatening messages to numerous victims, including the three victims discussed in court documents.
He often used the name “Frito” to contact victims on social media, including Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. He apparently complimented their appearance and/or commented on their photos and suggested a relationship in which he would pay them to send him nude photos or videos, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Some of the victims initially agreed to his requests and sent him nude, sexually explicit or compromising photos. But when victims refused Chavarri’s initial request, refused to send additional photos or videos, or refused to continue communicating with him, the defendant started harassing, threatening and extorting the victims using numerous online accounts, officials said.
In most cases, Chavarri even threatened to publish sexual photos and videos of the victims online, or on well-known pornography websites, and/or share the explicit photos with the victims’ boyfriends, loved ones or employers, people he often named.
He also threatened his victims, their friends and family by saying he would ruin their lives, officials said.
Chavarri was charged in February, but recently pleaded guilty to three counts of cyberstalking, officials said.
He is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 15 and faces up to five years in prison on each count.
Anyone who believes they might have been a victim in this case, or is aware of a victim, is asked to contact the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office at 310-477-6565.