Home Cincinnati Press Releases 2012 Meigs County Man Pleads Guilty to Sextortion Plot

Meigs County Man Pleads Guilty to Sextortion Plot
Hacked into Victims’ Computers and Threatened Them

U.S. Attorney’s Office May 14, 2012
  • Southern District of Ohio (937) 225-2910

COLUMBUS—Charles J. Estep, 28, of Shade, Ohio, pleaded guilty to breaking into two acquaintances’ social media sites, threatening one of the victims because of comments she had posted online, and then obtaining sexually explicit photos of her and posting them on the Internet.

Carter M. Stewart, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Edward J. Hanko, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); and Meigs County Sheriff Robert E. Beegle announced the pleas entered May 11, 2012 before Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Terence P. Kemp.

According to court documents, in April 2010, Estep threatened the female victim that he would hack into her social media accounts unless she removed comments she had posted online.

“When she did not remove the comments, Estep followed through with his threats by trying to ruin her reputation,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Deborah A. Solove told the court. According to court documents, Estep illegally accessed the computer of the male victim, obtained sexually explicit photos of the female victim, and posted the images on an adult pornography website.

Estep pleaded guilty to a three-count bill of information charging him with two counts of computer intrusion and one count of extortion. Computer intrusion is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Extortion is punishable by up to two years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Senior U.S. District Judge James L. Graham will set a date for sentencing.

U.S. Attorney Stewart commended the investigation by FBI agents and the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorney Solove.