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Glendale man accused of online 'sextortion'

Karen 'Gary' Kazaryan, 27, of Glendale was arrested by federal agents on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013, on suspicion of hacking into hundreds of online accounts and extorting women into showing him their naked bodies.
January 29, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
A Glendale man allegedly hacked hundreds of online accounts and extorted some 350 women and teenage girls into showing him their naked bodies.

Karen "Gary" Kazaryan, 27, was arrested without incident by special agents with the FBI on federal computer hacking charges. He was indicted on 15 counts of computer intrusion and 15 counts of aggravated identity theft.

According to the indictment, Kazaryan hacked into the women's Facebook, Skype and email accounts. He then changed the passwords to lock victims out of their own accounts and then searched emails or other files for naked or seminaked photos of the victims. He then posed as a friend, persuading them to strip while he watched via Skype, captured images of them, or both.

When the women discovered that Kazaryan was posing as a friend, he often blackmailed them with the nude photos he had fraudulently obtained to coerce more stripping, prosecutors said. In some cases, he's accused of posting the nude photos to the victims' Facebook pages when they refused his demands.

Authorities said Kazaryan's victims were mostly from Southern California, were aged 20 or younger and some were even underage girls. They also said he knew some of his victims.

Authorities found around 3,000 pictures of nude or seminude women on Kazaryan's computer. Investigators estimate Kazaryan had more than 350 victims, but all of the women have not yet been identified.

Kazaryan was also arrested for rape in 2008, but authorities said the case was dropped because the alleged victim could not be found. In a LinkedIn profile, he described himself as a business development consultant.

Kazaryan pleaded not guilty to the hacking charges. His bail was set at $75,000. He's expected back in court March 12.

If convicted on all counts, Kazaryan faces up to 105 years in prison.

Anyone who believes they may have been a victim of Kazaryan's should contact the FBI's Los Angeles office at (310) 477-6565.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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