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Five inmates in South Carolina extorted some $560,000 from hundreds of service members by using contraband cellphones to pose as underage women on dating sites, authorities say.
Standing in front of a state prison on Wednesday in Columbia, US Attorney Sherri Lydon told reporters that Antwine Lamar Matthews, Rakeem Spivey, Jimmy Dunbar Jr, Wendell Wilkins and David Paul Dempsey had been indicted on federal charges including extortion and wire fraud.
Others - Carolinas - Inmates - Extortion - Payments
Ten others throughout the Carolinas have been charged with helping the inmates collect extortion payments via services including Western Union or PayPal.
According to court documents, inmates used contraband phones to join dating websites, pretending to be women as they contacted and exchanged nude images with military personnel throughout the country.
Targets - Inmates - Authority - Figure - Father
Once the targets had been reeled in, inmates then posed as an authority figure, such as a father or police officer, claiming the girl with whom the victim had been communicating was underage and demanding money to keep the exchanges private, according to Drew Goodridge of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
Fearful they'd be accused of disseminating child pornography, possibly losing their military careers, more than 442 service members handed over more than...
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