South Carolina Inmates Created a 'Sextortion Ring' to Bilk $560,000 From U.S. Troops

Time | 11/22/2018 | Staff
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While serving time in a South Carolina prison, several inmates created an elaborate online “sextortion ring” that preyed on hundreds of U.S. servicemembers and manipulated them into sending money and nude photos of themselves, according to federal prosecutors.

The scheme was uncovered after a nearly two-year investigation, called “Operation Surprise Party,” launched by U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service and aided by other government partners.

Indictments - Prosecutors - Male - Prisoners - Contraband

In five separate indictments, prosecutors allege that the male prisoners used contraband cellphones to extort members of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps through online dating websites by posing as young women. The online scheme bamboozled 442 troops out of more than $560,000, prosecutors say.

“With nothing more than smart phones and a few keystrokes, South Carolina inmates along with outside accomplices victimized hundreds of people,” Daniel Andrews, Director of the Computer Crime Investigative Unit of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, said in a statement.

Prisoners - Prison - Robbery - Kidnapping - Murder

The prisoners — some of whom are in prison for armed robbery, kidnapping and murder — had help from 10 people outside the prison to help smuggle in cellphones and carry out the scheme.

The prisoners developed fake personas as 18 or 19 year-old women on social media forums and online dating websites. They would then try to pursue online romantic relationships with...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Time
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