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US marine convicted of cyberstalking

A former member of the armed forces has pleaded guilty to sexually harassing and blackmailing women online when he was on active duty, the Department of Justice announced.

Johao Miguel Chavarri, aka Michael Frito, 25, of Torrance, California, waged a “sextortion” campaign between 2019 and 2021 while serving in the Marine Corps, sending threatening messages to his victims after cajoling them into sharing explicit videos and photos with him, a court found.

Using his online Frito alias, Chavarri groomed his victims on social media, complimenting them on their attractiveness before soliciting them for explicit photos and footage for a fee. Some of the women initially complied, sending him nude or otherwise sexually explicit material of themselves.

“When victims refused Chavarri’s initial request for photos, to send him additional photos or videos, or to continue to communicate with him online, Chavarri began to harass, threaten, and extort the victims using numerous online accounts,” said the DoJ.

“He threatened to publish sexual photos and videos of the victims online or on well-known pornography websites and to distribute [them] to the victims’ boyfriends, friends, families, or employers – people he often specifically identified by name. Chavarri threatened his victims and their friends and family that he would ruin their lives.”

Chavarri pleaded guilty to three counts of cyberstalking and is due to be sentenced by a federal district court judge on September 15. He faces up to five years in prison for each offense. He was brought to justice by the Los Angeles department of the FBI and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

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