A 24-year-old man was arrested after allegedly impersonating Justin Bieber online and blackmailing an 11-year-old girl to send him nude photos. The suspect, Bryan Asrary, allegedly found his victim two years ago on Justin Bieber’s Instagram account, reports Daily Mail.
Asrary allegedly told the girl, who was 9 at the time, that he knew Bieber and could arrange a text message. It is further alleged that he then pretended to be the iconic pop star and coerced the girl to send him nude selfies.
Last year, it is claimed that Asrary contacted the girl again and attempted to blackmail her to send more photos and videos. According to Tripped Media, he threatened the girl with physical violence. She then told her mother, who contacted the authorities. Asrary now faces charges of child pornography and extortion.
Instances of “sextortion” and similar Internet-based crimes are becoming widespread in the United States. In Florida, extortion alone is a second-degree felony, and a conviction could come with the following penalties:
- Up to 15 years in prison;
- Up to 15 years of probation; and
- Fines of up to $10,000.
If you are facing criminal charges in Florida, turn to Leader & Leader P.A. Michael D. Leader is a criminal defense lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who will investigate your arrest, gather evidence and aggressively represent your interests.
Our office is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call 954-523-2020 to schedule a free consultation.
What Constitutes Extortion in Florida?
Pursuant to Florida Statute 836.05, two elements must be true in order for extortion to be committed:
- The defendant maliciously threatened to injure a person or his or her reputation or property, expose a disgrace, accuse the person of a crime, expose a secret that affected another person, or impute a deformity or lack of chastity to another.
- The defendant made the threat with the intention to extort money or a pecuniary advantage, or to coerce the person to commit an act or refrain from committing an act against his or her will.
What Is the “Idle Threat” Defense Against Extortion Charges?
In any criminal case, there are several possible pretrial and trial defenses. In addition to these, it may be possible for your criminal attorney to raise the “idle threat” defense against extortion charges.
This defense would apply to your case if the threat was not intended to reach the victim. For example, if you tell a friend that you will expose a mutual friend’s infidelity if the latter does not pay his or her debts to you, then this would not be considered extortion because the threat was not intended to be passed on to the victim.
If you are facing charges related to extortion or another criminal offense in Florida, turn to Leader & Leader P.A. Our attorneys have more than 80 years of combined legal experience, and we have the knowledge and resources to represent your interests. Call 954-523-2020 today to arrange a free initial consultation.