Officials: Inmates ran $560K online dating extortion scheme – Yahoo News

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Officials: Inmates ran $560K online dating extortion scheme – Yahoo News

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Five inmates within the Carolinas extorted greater than half a million dollars from protection power personnel at some stage within the country, the utilization of illegal cellphones to pose as females on dating sites, authorities said Wednesday.

Standing in front of a exclaim jail in Columbia, South Carolina, U.S. Attorney Sherri Lydon advised newshounds that five inmates had been indicted on federal costs including extortion and wire fraud. Ten others at some stage within the Carolinas dangle been charged with serving to inmates bag extortion payments by strategy of companies and products including Western Union or PayPal.

In step with court docket documents, inmates worn contraband telephones to affix dating web sites, contacting and exchanging nude images with provider participants across the country.

As soon as the targets had been reeled in, Drew Goodridge of the Naval Felony Investigative Carrier said, inmates then posed as an authority decide, love a father or police officer, claiming the lady with whom the victim had been communicating became underage and stressful money to relief the exchanges non-public.

Terrified they’d be accused of disseminating child pornography, presumably losing their protection power careers, greater than 442 provider participants handed over greater than $560,000 total, authorities said.

Lydon said the victims attain from all branches and ranks of the protection power. In step with Goodridge, greater than 250 other circumstances were being investigated for attainable extortion as section of “Operation Shock Celebration,” which his agency began in January 2017.

“This operation will continue until we destroy the aid of these legal networks,” he said.

Inmates must now not allowed to dangle cellphones within the aid of bars, though hundreds are smuggled inner each three hundred and sixty five days. Corrections Director Bryan Stirling has long called illegally bought cellphones the No. 1 security risk inner his institutions, as they permit inmates the unmonitored potential to communicate and potentially continue their legal endeavors.

Officers dangle said a lethal rebellion earlier this three hundred and sixty five days at Lee Correctional Institution became in section a turf war over contraband including cellphones.

“We make now not lock up criminals easiest to dangle them lunge to jail and continue their legal behavior,” Lydon said. “It is the unfettered exercise of contraband cellphones that permits inmates to continue harming the citizens of South Carolina.”

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Meg Kinnard could perchance presumably even be reached on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP.

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