A University of Georgia graduate student was charged Friday with cyberstalking and extortion through interstate threats aimed at a Massachusetts woman.
Gary E. Leach, 23, of Athens, is accused of obtaining private video calls from the victim by surreptitiously recording the calls, as well as photographs of a sexual nature from the victim. He then allegedly threatened to share the material with her family if she did not continue to send him content of a sexual nature.
Leach is alleged to have used anonymous Instagram accounts to contact and harass the victim, including accounts featuring nicknames for the victim and several variations of the username “u.kno_who.”
While communicating with the victim, he allegedly indicated to her that he had engaged in similar conduct with other Instagram users, some of whom also did not know they were being recorded.
The charge of stalking by electronic means provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Extortion by interstate threat of injury to reputation carries up to two years in prison, one year of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.
Federal authorities are asking anyone who believes they may have been victimized by Leach to visit https://www.justice.gov/usao-ma/victim-and-witness-assistance-program/us-v-gary-leach
The U.S. attorney’s office and FBI Field Division in Boston handled the investigation.
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