According to federal prosecutors, while in prison in South Carolina, several inmates created a complex online texturing ring, which was mined and manipulated by hundreds of US military personnel, sending money and nude photos.
This scheme was disclosed after a nearly two-year investigation under the name “Surprise Operational Session”, initiated by the US Criminal Investigation Department. and the help of other government partners.
In five separate indictments, prosecutors allege that male inmates used smuggling mobile phones to extort military personnel, naval forces, air force and marine corps through dating websites, introducing themselves to young women. According to prosecutors, the online scheme has deceived 442 troops from more than 560,000 dollars.
“With nothing but smartphones and a few keystrokes, prisoners from South Carolina, along with external accomplices, were the victims of hundreds of people,” said Daniel Andrews, director of the US Army Criminal Investigation Department, criminal investigation team, in a statement.
Prisoners, some of whom are in prison for armed robbery, kidnapping and murder, received help from 10 people outside the prison to help smuggle in mobile phones and carry out the scheme.
Prisoners developed fake characters as 18 or 19-year-old women in forums on social networks and online dating sites. They will then try to continue their online romance with US military personnel.
After developing the “relationships” on the websites, the prisoners began text nude photos of young women, which they personified. In fact, the photos were simply obtained from the Internet.
As soon as they sent text images, the inmates asked the military members for nude photos or other personal information in return. When the attacker responded with his naked photos, the prisoners then took on the role of the woman’s father, who claimed that his daughter was a minor. He would have demanded money on behalf of the family in exchange for the failure to carry out criminal charges.
Fearing that they might lose their military career over possessing what they thought was child pornography, the soldier would wire the money through Western Union, MoneyGram, PayPal or Walmart.
People outside the prison will receive funds and deposit them either on the account of the Department of Corrections or create a prepaid debit card that can be accessed via a smartphone.
“There are over 250 additional people who are investigating and are facing potential future prosecution,” a statement from the naval criminal investigation service says.
The victims are deployed at bases throughout the country, and prosecutors urge all members of the service who are attacked to contact the military investigations office of their branch.