A Michigan man who tried to get at least 10 young women from Western New York, many of them minors, to send him pornographic pictures of themselves on the Internet this summer has been arrested on federal charges, U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. said Wednesday.
James S. Allen, 36, who was apprehended at his home in New Baltimore, Mich., Wednesday morning, is held on counts of cyberstalking, trafficking in computer passwords and making harassing telephone calls. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Prosecutors allege that, between June 24 and Aug. 14, Allen tricked his victims into revealing their passwords and email accounts to him, then told them he would distribute naked photos of them over the Internet unless they had a Skype video chat with him.
During the chat, he allegedly demanded that they take their clothes off and engage in sexual conduct. Prosecutors said many of his victims suffered "substantial emotional distress."
Prosecutors urge anyone who had contact with Allen, or a user on Skype with the screen name "shhh.shhh," to call the U.S. Attorney's Office toll-free at (800) 320-0682.