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DA Sini: Man Pleads Guilty To Online ‘Sextortion’ Scheme Using Revenge Porn To Victimize More Than 30 Women

Written by Long Island News & PR  |  26. March 2018

Hauppauge, NY - March 26, 2018 - Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini announced the guilty plea of a man who attempted to extort sexually explicit photos and videos from more than 30 women by threatening to disseminate their nude photos, also known as “sextortion.” District Attorney Sini also announced a new multi-pronged initiative in the District Attorney’s Office to address this issue, including the aggressive prosecution of sextortion schemes and other related offenses; enhanced education and prevention efforts; providing resources and support for victims; and advocating for effective legislation to prosecute these crimes.
 
“We can only imagine the type of fear, isolation and desperation that these women must feel when they receive a message showing that someone they don’t know has an image of them naked or performing a sex act, and that if they don’t do what the person says, those images are going to be sent to their family or to the public,” District Attorney Sini said. “That’s how these sick, sadistic offenders are able to get girls and women to do these acts that are against their will and that are damaging to them, both physically and emotionally.”
 
Joseph Iorio, 21, of Holtsville pleaded guilty to one count of Stalking in the First Degree, a D violent felony, and one count of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, an E non-violent felony. He faces a determinate sentence of five years in prison followed by three years of post-release supervision on the Stalking charge and a sentence of one and one-third to four years in prison on the Scheme to Defraud charge, to run concurrently.
 
In July 2017, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office was made aware of a victim who was sent partially nude photographs of herself in a Facebook message from a user named “Luke As.” The user, who was later identified as Iorio, requested that she send additional photos or he would disseminate the images. Iorio was arrested on July 18, 2017 and charged with Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree for the extortion.
 
The District Attorney’s Office continued to investigate Iorio and found that he was a moderator of an online forum where users would upload nude images of young women along with their identifying information, including names, home towns and schools they attended.
 
Using their personal information, Iorio was able to find the women on social media and attempt to extort them for additional sexually explicit photos and videos.
 
A parallel investigation by the NYPD found that Iorio was also extorting women on Facebook under the username “Mike Cosgrove.”
 
The investigations resulted in the identification of more than 30 victims of attempted sextortion by Iorio.
 
“Our investigation has revealed that some women were forced to appear in public in the nude, perform sex acts upon themselves that have resulted in injury, and much worse,” District Attorney Sini said. “It’s a modern day form of sexual torture.”
 
As a result of these crimes, Iorio was arrested on January 19, 2018 by Suffolk County Police Detectives assigned to the District Attorney Squad.
 
District Attorney Sini announced that the District Attorney’s Office is launching a new multipronged initiative to address this issue through aggressive investigation and prosecution of offenders; educating young people and parents about the dangers of taking nude photos and videos; supporting victims and connecting them with resources; and advocating for legislative reform.
 
“Let me be crystal clear: If you are an offender, I promise that we are coming for you,” District Attorney Sini said. “We will find out, we will arrest you and we will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law. You will be held accountable for your sick acts, and we will show no mercy.”
 
As part of the initiative, Suffolk County Assistant District Attorneys will conduct outreach in schools to educate students, teachers and parents about the potential social and criminal consequences of sharing nude photos.
 
The District Attorney’s Office will also provide assistance to victims of these crimes. Victims of sextortion or revenge porn can contact the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office at 631-853-5602 or SCDAPhotoExtortion@suffolkcountyny.gov.
 
“We know that many victims out there may not feel comfortable cooperating in a criminal prosecution, but don’t let that get in the way of reaching out,” District Attorney Sini said. “There are ways that we can end your torture without ever revealing your identity. By coming forward, you can help yourself and you can also help scores of other girls and women who are being victimized.”
 
District Attorney Sini also highlighted the need for specific legislation to outlaw sextortion and revenge porn in New York State and to require perpetrators of these crimes to register as sex offenders.
 
“We should have a statute on the books just for sextortion and revenge porn, and I want to thank Governor Andrew Cuomo for proposing that very legislation as part of his 2018 budget for New York State,” District Attorney Sini said.
 
This case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Tracy Hoffman, of the Enhanced Prosecution Bureau.
 
Iorio is scheduled to be sentenced in front of Judge Fernando Camacho on May 2, 2018.
 

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