Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf discussed being a victim in her former high school classmate’s “sextortion” case on the “Today” show Friday morning, saying she recognized his name but never talked to him when they went to school together.
“It’s weird for me to be able to put a face to the person that did this to me and to know its someone I went to high school with,” Wolf told Savannnah Guthrie.
On Thursday, 19-year-old Temecula college freshman Jared James Abrahams was taken into custody on federal charges that he “sextorted” newly crowned Miss Teen USA Wolf and other young women around the world by hijacking their computer’s webcams to capture naked images.
“He was young, my age,” Wolf told Guthrie. “I just think it’s sad he chose to do this and kind of put himself in this big dilemma.”
Wolf said she and her friends recognized Abrahams’ name but never conversed with him when they went to school together.
Abrahams’ attorney, Alan Eisner, told reporters outside of the federal courthouse Thursday that “the family wants to apologize for the consequences of his behavior to the families that were affected.”
Abrahams is accused of commandeering webcams of unsuspecting women in Canada, Ireland, Russia and across the United States, a federal criminal complaint unsealed Thursday said.
After hacking into the webcams to obtain nude photos and videos, the complaint said, Abrahams used them to blackmail females as young as 16 to provide even more images, videos or live chat sessions.
If they refused, the complaint states, he would post their images on the Internet to humiliate them.
Abrahams is accused of threatening to transform Wolf’s “dream of being a model ... into a porn star” if the victim did not comply with his demands, according to a court record.
The FBI investigation was sparked after Wolf alerted authorities in March to a change in her Facebook password and an alleged sextortion demand from a person authorities said they later identified as Abrahams.
“It makes me feel really good to know I helped [other victims] out as well,” Wolf said on “Today.”
When FBI agents first raided his Temecula home in June, seizing computers and hardware, cellphones and hacking software, according to the criminal complaint, they found evidence that he had commandeered 30 to 40 computers and gathered images of victims in Southern California, Maryland, Ireland, Canada, Russia and Moldova.
FBI officials added that Abrahams bragged on a hacker forum how he had installed malware on the computer of “this girl who happens to be a model...”
Abrahams has been released on $50,000 bond, the FBI said. He must wear a GPS tracker and is prohibited from using a computer for anything other than academic work.