Kittery man charged in ‘sextortion’ case

Posted July 18, 2012, at 6:07 p.m.
Last modified July 20, 2012, at 5:19 a.m.

A Maine man is accused of trying to force a New Hampshire resident into providing him with sexually explicit photos and videos in what authorities have deemed a “sextortion” case.

On Wednesday, John Bryan Villegas of Kittery, Maine, was charged in federal court with one count of computer intrusion involving extortion and one count of making extortionate interstate threats.

According to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice, an affidavit alleges Villegas attempted to extort a female resident from New Hampshire into providing sexually explicit pictures and videos of herself.

The affidavit claims Villegas sent the victim threatening emails saying he would publish other sexually explicit photographs of her on the Internet as well as distribute them to her neighbors, coworkers and social acquaintances.

Authorities have deemed the type of cyber extortion Villegas has allegedly engaged in as “sextortion.”

If convicted, he could face a maximum sentence of two years in prison for the email threats and five years in prison for allegedly obtaining photographs of the victim from a computer without authorization.

These sentences could be followed by up to three years of supervised release, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as a fine reaching up to $500,000.

Although Villegas’ case was primarily investigated by the U.S. Secret Service, assistance was requested from the Dover Police Department, the Kittery, Maine Police Department and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS).

Lt. Brant Dolleman confirmed Dover’s department is involved with the case, but couldn’t comment on why their assistance was solicited.

“I can’t say much because I don’t want it to compromise the case,” Dolleman told Foster’s on Thursday.

Kittery, Maine, Police Chief Paul Callaghan recently told the Portsmouth Herald that Villegas was an employee of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard while the investigation was taking place, but declined to comment any further on his department’s involvement in the case.

Villegas’ case is being prosecuted by trial attorney Mona Sedky of U.S. Department of Justice’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Arnold Huftalen.

(c)2012 the Foster’s Daily Democrat (Dover, N.H.)

Distributed by MCT Information Services

 

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