Sextortionist Who Hacked Teenage Girls' Computers Gets 18-Month Prison Punishment

jaredjamesabrahams.jpg
Abrahams
The weeping, angry mother of a crime victim--2013's Miss Teen USA who was electronically stalked and terrorized by a Southern California hacker--called defendant Jared James Abrahams "a sexual predator" and asked that he face the maximum allowable punishment, including lifetime public registration as a sex offender.

"I will never forget the sounds of my daughter's cries for help," Cassidy Wolf's mother told U.S. District Court Judge James V. Selna during a sentencing hearing today. "Unthinkable evil entered our home. We lived in terror . . . It went on and on and on and on and on. The terror was just unbelievable."

Abrahams--a soft-spoken, 19-year-old college freshman studying computer science when FBI agents arrested him in 2013--targeted teenage females in California and around the world, placed malware on their computers and secretly activated their webcams to capture them without clothes.

Using surreptitious electronic routes, the Temecula resident also sent messages to his targets, told them he'd recorded their images and, unless they gave him additional naked pictures or video, he would place embarrassing pictures on the Internet, according to the FBI.

Abraham wore a blue blazer, white khakis and a baby face that could pass him for a high school sophomore during the proceedings inside Orange County's Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse. With a slight lisp, he read a prepared statement that assured his victims of his "immense sorrow" and regret. "I can only imagine the pain for what I've done to you," he said. "I didn't do it to be mean or hurtful."

Selna interrupted the remarks, saying, "Sir, I have a lot of trouble with that last statement."

Wolf, the pageant beauty and victim, sat in the courtroom but did not address the court.

Abrahams' visibly distraught mother then told the judge that she is "devastated" by her son's crimes, noted his autism and said he'd had difficulty socializing his entire life because he "can't recognize normal social clues." She explained, "Jared is not a monster. He is not a predator. He has the maturity of a 12-year-old boy."

The defendant's father said he "would be beyond furious" if someone in his family been been similarly victimized, but asked Selna to recognize his son's "diminished mental capacity."

"Jared is not a bad person," he said, calling for a punishment of home detention because of a "fear" of what may happen to him in an adult prison. "He is not a sociopath, psychopath or a sexual predator."

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Wolf
Assistant United States Attorney Vibhav Mittal requested a punishment of 21 months in prison.

Selna noted that sentencing is often the toughest part of his job and explained he couldn't mandate a sex offender registration because Mittal hadn't filed child pornography charges in the case.

"I don't believe that autism is an excuse for the conduct he engaged in," said the judge. "He understood what he was doing. I believe he made life hell for the victim and the victim's mother."

Calling his decision "fair and balanced," Selna gave Abrahams a sentence of 18 months to address this case but also to provide a deterrent to others who might in the future plot to commit the same crimes.

The judge hopes the defendant can take advantage of his "potential" after he completes his punishment because he has "a lot of innate ability" with computers.

After the hearing, Mittal said he was satisfied with the sentencing order.

Los Angeles-based defense attorney Alan Eisner, who'd argued that his client used his computer as "an outlet to connect" because of his "severe social isolation," apologized to the victims.

"We don't mean to minimize his conduct whatsoever," he told reporters. "We just want to apply context. He does have signs of mental health limitations."

Selna ordered the now 20-year-old defendant, who is free on bail, to surrender to U.S. Bureau of Prison officials by noon on June 16. When he emerges from custody after serving 85 percent of the sentence, Abrahams must undergo supervised probation for three years. He will have to pay $32 a month for a computer monitoring service. In addition, he is banned from contacting any of his victims.

FBI cyber crime unit agents tracked Abrahams and won his immediate cooperation when they confronted him.

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Email: rscottmoxley@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @RScottMoxley.


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26 comments
Rich Hail
Rich Hail

that's actually not that long..He expected more, so I bet he's happy. if his Lawyer can get state time for him instead of federal time, he may walk in a month or two.

JGlanton
JGlanton topcommenter

One thing is obvious: OC Weekly writes stories about sex, drugs, booze, food, and race. It's like one big college dorm in here.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 "I don't believe that autism is an excuse for the conduct he engaged in," said the judge.


The judge is an idiot.

osobear33
osobear33

very little empathy in these comments

18usc241
18usc241 topcommenter

Can you imagine if a criminal morally bankrupt police community had this sort of capability?

BBAIN
BBAIN

Abrahams will soon get a taste of his own medicine, although the people threatening him will be big, tatooed tough guys who aren't sitting in front of a computer.  It will be a shame if they put him in ad-seg, but they probably will.

DanChmielewski
DanChmielewski

I met Cassidy at a security trade show in San Francisco last month; she has become an activist for protecting the rights of those affected by hackers.  18 months seems very light but because Internet crimes are federal in nature, he can be released after serving 85% of his sentence.  As far as Cassidy goes, she wanted to put a public face on what was done to her and she demonstrates remarkable poise and resolve. 

949girl
949girl topcommenter

He got off pretty light.  He said so himself he has no heart.  I thought that if you had a federal sentence you had to serve 100%?  I thought if you got sentenced to state prison you had to serve 85%?  I definitely think he got a very light sentence but he doesn't seem like the type of guy who will easily adapt.  He seems like a wimpy loser who had to bully and threaten girls behind his computer.  I would think that the victim's could sue him for emotional distress or something?  I hope he ends up paying for this a lot longer than 18 months!

fishwithoutbicycle
fishwithoutbicycle topcommenter

"I don't believe that autism is an excuse for the conduct he engaged in," said the judge. "He understood what he was doing. I believe he made life hell for the victim and the victim's mother [in attendance]."

Exactly. While I believe there are mitigating circumstances for the mentally ill, Mr. Abrams clearly showed malice of forethought. He should to be in jail...and he absolutely deserves having his name added to the sex offender registry.

rscottmoxley
rscottmoxley topcommenter

@JGlanton Yes, that's obviously why you keep coming back here day after day. BTW, nobody faults you for living vicariously, but just a note: This article didn't have anything to do with drugs, booze, food and race. (Sorry to let you down.) 

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@fishwithoutbicycle  ... Jesus would be proud of your vengeance upon those with diminished mental capacity and mental diseases.


Kick puppies much?

paulpothier
paulpothier

@fishwithoutbicycle Makeup is for Jezebel spirit. 2Ki 9:30 And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard [of it]; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window.


BillxT
BillxT topcommenter

Oh, no man, it's not that! Um, it's, um, oh yah, I know, it's the restaurant reviews, that's why I read, and commented on, this story. I mean, come on, passing off of a story on the sentencing of a sex predator as news, when there must be someting more important, like the shade of lip stick the Bieber has switched to.

fishwithoutbicycle
fishwithoutbicycle topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay

So does being mentally ill/mentally diminished completely excuse what he did to those women...purposefully, deliberately and over a period of time? I said I believe in mitigating circumstances for the mentally ill...but I don't think he should go without some punishment for his actions...and I do hope he receives counseling while incarcerated. But, you know, it's really unfair to make a generalization about my overall view of crime and the mentally ill based on my opinion about this one particular case! And as for picking on the mentally ill...should I give you crap for accusing a clinically depressed person (me) of kicking puppies for fun? You hurt my feelings. Feel better?

fishwithoutbicycle
fishwithoutbicycle topcommenter

@paulpothier

Hmmm...are you implying that women who wear makeup and spend a lot of their time in the public eye deserve to be harassed and threatened? Is this the bible thumper's version of "she asked for it"? ::rolls eyes::

fishwithoutbicycle
fishwithoutbicycle topcommenter

@BobbyDee

I already told you I didn't call for castration and public execution IN EVERY CASE. I might even reconsider the sex offender registry IN THIS PARTICULAR CASE...but he still committed a crime. Does anyone give a damn about the women he victimized? Don't they deserve some justice, too? But I see you troll these articles waiting for me to express an opinion about this particular subject that doesn't perfectly align with yours so you can make some rude remark about it. You have a terrible technique if you're trying to change hearts and minds.

BobbyDee
BobbyDee

@DonkeyHotay typically @fishwithoutbicycle's comments revolve around castration and public executions. Or was it public castration and executions?


Only asking for jail and lifetime sex offender registration for this obviously troubled young man shows some real compassion and personal growth.

fishwithoutbicycle
fishwithoutbicycle topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay  

Don't lecture me about autism...my good friend's son was autistic...but he also didn't systematically stalk and threaten women over the internet. I would also like to point out I never said counseling would for certain "cure" anything...nor did I say I hated the young man.  And YOU don't understand depression very well...we hate ourselves much more than we could hate anyone else. And if you actually read many of my comments on other posts you'd find I show compassion for a lot of people. But go ahead and make unfair, sweeping generalizations like "your blood lust for vengeance against the mentally ill and handicapped is already noted". Really? Because of how I feel about this particular case?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@fishwithoutbicycle  "but I don't think he should go without some punishment for his actions."


Your blood lust for vengeance against the mentally ill and handicapped is already noted.


@fishwithoutbicycle "and I do hope he receives counseling while incarcerated"


LOL! ... only an imbecile would assert that counseling cures autism.


PS -- hating others won't cure your depression.

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