Los Angeles - A US student has agreed to plead guilty to
hacking online accounts of Miss Teen USA and other women and threatening to
publish nude photos of them, prosecutors said on Thursday.
Jared James Abrahams surrendered in September to FBI
agents probing so-called "sextortion" cases, in which he made demands
in return for agreeing not to release the pictures.
Abrahams is due in court next Monday, when a judge is
expected to set a date for him to formally enter a guilty plea, according to
spokesperson Thom Mrozek of the US Attorney's Office in Los Angeles.
"Federal sentencing rules call for a sentence of
between 27 and 33 months... but if will ultimately be up to a judge," he
In theory, Abrahams could be fined up to $1m for
unauthorised access to computers and extortion.
A plea agreement filed last week detailed how, starting
last year and continuing until June, the computer science student hacked into
computers, e-mail and social media accounts.
The pictures, sometimes nude, were taken from webcams,
said the plea deal, adding that Abrahams "extorted at least 12 young women
in their late teens or early 20s in this manner."
The investigation involved multiple victims in
California, as well as Canada, Moldova and Russia. The most high profile was
Cassidy Wolf, who won the Miss Teen USA pageant in August.
Wolf, 18, called investigators in March after receiving
threatening e-mails containing nude photos of herself.
The sender said he would distribute the pictures
"all over the internet" unless she either sent him a personal video
of herself, joined him on Skype for a five-minute video chat during which she
would have to do whatever he said, or sent him "good quality pics" of
"Either you do one of the things listed or I upload
these pics... on all your accounts for everybody to see, and your dream of
being a model will be transformed into a pornstar," he wrote, according to