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Man posed as Justin Bieber to extort nude photos from 9-year-old girl, police say

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Investigators say Bryan Asrary, 24,confessed to extorting a Los Angeles minor for sexual images and videos.

A Massachusetts man is in police custody after soliciting nude photos from a Los Angeles County minor while posing as pop star Justin Bieber, authorities said this week.

Bryan Asrary, 24, was arrested in Revere, Mass., on Dec. 18 when a search warrant was served on his home by L.A. County sheriff’s detectives with the assistance of the Massachusetts State Police.

Detectives from the Sheriff’s Department human trafficking bureau launched the investigation in November after learning that an 11-year-old girl had been extorted for sexually explicit pictures.

The victim told detectives that two years before, when she was 9, she was viewing the Instagram page of Bieber when she received a direct message from another Instagram user who said he knew Bieber and offered to arrange a text meeting with the victim.

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“Excited at the proposition to text with Justin Bieber, the young victim accepted the offer and was directed to set up an account on the social media site, KIK,” the department said in a news release.

The girl then communicated with someone on KIK, who she believed was actually Bieber. Asrary, posing as Bieber, began demanding nude photos of the girl and threatened harm if she didn’t cooperate, authorities said.

The victim sent nude selfies and videos, and after sending the pictures the victim deleted the texts between herself and the suspect and kept it a secret.

In 2016, Asrary contacted the victim twice and threatened to publish and broadcast the photos she had sent earlier if she didn’t send more nude photos and video, authorities said. The victim told her mother, who contacted authorities.

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Detectives served several search warrants for information from social media sites and were able to identify the suspect as Asrary, of Revere, according to the department.

The department said that during an interview the suspect confessed to extorting the victim for sexual images and videos and also implicated himself in similar crimes against other young girls throughout the country.

Asrary was arrested by state troopers on suspicion of possessing child pornography. Police said they found the images on Asrary’s cellphone and computer. His bail was set at $20,000.

In addition to the local charges, Asrary will face multiple charges in California, including extortion, manufacturing child pornography and communicating with a minor with the intent to commit a sex act, authorities said.

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Investigators established that Asrary had no actual connection to Bieber, “but simply fabricated the relationship to influence his young victims,” the department said.

brittny.mejia@latimes.com

Twitter: @Brittny_Mejia

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