Browsing: Blackmail

lolostock-shutterstockLolostock/Shutterstock.com

You know that episode of Black Mirror where an unsuspecting teen is filmed watching porn through a hacked webcam, and then blackmailed into (spoiler) robbing a bank and murdering somebody, just so the hacker wouldn’t leak his information to his family? Turns out that sci-fi episode’s plotline is heavy on the “science” and pretty light on “fiction.

Case in point: A South Beach lawyer was charged yesterday with operating a massive porn-blackmail scheme, in which he and his cohorts would make their own porn then upload it onto the internet in places they knew it would be illegally downloaded. The feds say that lawyer, John Steele, and his team would then wait for someone to download that porn, and then blackmail them into forking over wads of cash, lest Steele reveal the victim’s porn-watching history to the world.
fiu-student-facebook-stalkingPhoto by Christopher / Flickr

Facebook friend requests from strangers almost always turn out to be bad news. In the best-case scenario, some weird guy from Turkmenistan insults your sister’s prom photos. In the worst-case: Someone creates a fake account, discovers hidden info about your past, and then threatens to release that information or kill you if you don’t pony up thousands of dollars.

That’s exactly what a former FIU student did to an anonymous California college student who had a secret past as a porn star. Now, the FIU student is headed to prison after trying to use that info to extort tens of thousands of dollars.

In June 2015, federal authorities say the California student, listed only as “S.B.” in court records, received a strange friend request from a former U.S. Marine named “Giovani.” But when S.B. accepted Giovani’s friend request, things turned ugly: “Giovani” was actually a 23-year-old Florida International University criminal-justice student named Kassandra Cruz, who’d discovered that S.B. had secretly dabbled in porn years ago.

Cruz immediately began to threaten her: She’d expose that secret to S.B.’s family and employer, she promised — and even threatened to kill her — unless S.B. coughed up $100,000.

yesjulzPhoto by George Martinez

This has been YesJulz’s year. With the exception of DJ Khaled, YesJulz (real name Julieanna Goddard, 26), is the biggest social-media star in America right now not named “Kardashian.” After getting her start promoting events for South Beach clubs such as LIV and Story, she now spends her time Snapchatting from parties while jet-setting around the world, leading the New York Times to call her “Snapchat Royalty” in June.

The minute she reached the top, it seems her competitors are already trying to tear her down: Miami Beach Police say they arrested two Broward County residents after they allegedly stole and/or hacked YesJulz’s all-powerful cell phone, found nude photos and videos on it, and then tried to extort $18,000 from her, lest they release those photos to the public.


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On November 16, a 38-year-old woman walked into the police department of Springfield, Missouri to make a complaint.  She told an officer she felt “embarrassed”: She’d willingly filmed herself naked for the singles-matching website, Vietsingle.com. But now one of her “matches” was threatening to send the video to her family and co-workers. Daily RFT of St. Louis has the story.