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Man Charged and Arrested for Cyber “Sextortion”

WASHINGTON – A Maine resident was charged in a criminal complaint unsealed today in the District of New Hampshire for allegedly engaging in a type of cyber extortion known as “sextortion,” announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney John P. Kacavas of the District of New Hampshire.

John Bryan Villegas, 21, of Kittery, Maine, was arrested yesterday and made his initial appearance today 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.

The complaint affidavit alleges that Villegas 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-mail messages 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 case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service and is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Mona Sedky of the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Arnold H. Huftalen of the District of New Hampshire.  The Department would like to thank the cooperation of the Dover, N.H., and Kittery, Maine, police departments and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS).

The details contained in the complaint are allegations.  The defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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