A Massachusetts man was arrested for posing as Justin Bieber and extorting a young girl into sending him nude photos and videos, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said in a press release Tuesday, January 17.
Bryan Asrary, 24, was arrested at his home in Revere, Massachusetts, on December 18, two years after his initial contact with the girl. Detectives from the LASD Human Trafficking Bureau launched an investigation last November after learning that the unidentified victim was being extorted into sending nude pictures over the internet, the sheriff’s department said.
According to the LASD, when the girl was 9 years old, she received a direct message on Instagram from Asrary, who told her that he knew Bieber and would arrange a text meeting on the social-messaging app Kik. After the girl messaged Asrary, thinking he was Bieber, he demanded “nude photos of the victim and threatened harm if she didn’t cooperate,” the press release said. The girl sent the pictures and videos and kept the incident a secret for two years.
In 2016, the sheriff’s department said, Asrary contacted the girl again and threatened to post the photos online if she didn’t send more. The victim told her mother about the incident, and her mother contacted the police.
After investigating the crime, L.A. detectives identified the so-called sextortion culprit as Asrary and traveled to his hometown with a search warrant. Asrary confessed to extorting the girl into sending the nude photos and “also implicated himself in similar crimes against other young girls throughout the county,” the press release said.
Asrary, who has no connection to Bieber, was arrested by Massachusetts State Police for possession of child pornography. In California, he faces multiple charges, including extortion, manufacturing child pornography and communicating with a minor with the intent to commit a sex act, the sheriff’s department said. If convicted, Asrary faces several years in prison.
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