EXCLUSIVE: Wyoming teens among hundreds victims of ‘prolific and malicious’ international sextortion

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By Jen Kocher, Cowoby State Daily

A Bangladeshi national has been charged in federal court in Alaska with 13 counts of running a child exploitative business involving hundreds of teenagers across the country and the world, including at least six underage victims in Wyoming.

Zobaidul Amin, 24, was arrested on September 19 where he lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in what the Federal Bureau of Investigation calls one of its “most prolific and malicious sextortion schemes” to date , according to the U.S. District Attorney’s Office. from Alaska.

The federal case was a joint effort led by the FBI’s Anchorage office in conjunction with multiple law enforcement agencies, including Wyoming, Alaska, West Virginia, Oregon, and Florida, as well than the Malaysian authorities.

Amin has been charged with 12 counts relating to the possession and production of child pornography by Malaysia’s Attorney General’s Chambers, where he will remain in prison. The charges are outlined in a 50-page grand jury-drafted indictment. Other court documents related to the case have been sealed.

Indictment “A Huge Victory”

Chris McDonald, head of the Wyoming Criminal Investigations Division’s Internet Crimes Against Children Unit, said it’s rare for a foreign national to stand trial for crimes committed against children in the United States and thanks the FBI and Malaysia for working together to bring charges against Amin.

“I find it hard to express how rare it is to have all these moving parts together,” McDonald told the Cowboy State Daily on Thursday. “We set up a good case in Wyoming to help the Alaskan FBI, and they did a great job policing it.”

McDonald said his team is aware of six underage victims in Wyoming, though he suspects the real number is higher. He also said it was really frustrating to know the identity of the alleged perpetrator and not be able to press charges internationally.

“This guy just victimized kids in Wyoming long term,” he said. “It’s a huge victory to bring him to justice and give a sense of closure to the victims, their families and our team.”

Fake profiles, threats and extortion

The indictment against Amin describes his use of social media apps such as Snapchat and Instagram to exploit hundreds of underage victims in the United States and abroad by using threats to coerce teenagers into producing photographs and sexually explicit videos of sadistic and unlawful sexual images and acts, according to federal court documents.

Amin’s alleged victims are under the age of 18 and as young as 11 posing as teenage boys or girls – and sometimes a bisexual or gay youth – using fake photos of himself, according to court documents filed in the Federal District Court of Alaska.

He reportedly asked minors about their sexual orientation before asking them to send in a nude photo. After obtaining the photo, Amin would then extort the teens, threatening to expose the photos to the victims’ friends and social media followers unless they provide additional sexually explicit photos or videos.

After threatening to share photos, Amin would order teenagers to connect with him on Snapchat, where he asked them to produce a specific number of pictures and videos per day. The images included their genitals or videos of them penetrating each other vaginally and anally with various objects.

At times, Amin followed through on his threats to expose the sexually explicit content to his friends and family on social media, according to the indictment. In other cases, he promised to stop extorting the minor if they helped him find new victims or sent him nudes of other teenagers.

In some cases, Amin masturbated during video chats with minors as the victims engaged in sexually explicit behavior, according to court documents.

When his social media accounts were shut down or reported, Amin created new ones, often using his victims’ phone numbers or forcing them to provide their personal information to create new accounts.

At the time of the indictment, Amin had used more than 80 Snapchat accounts and more than 40 Instagram accounts, some of which remain active, according to the indictment.

Amin is also accused of sharing the images and videos he would obtain from his victims in dropbox folders with at least three co-conspirators who he asked to sextort minors with him to view the content.

Emotional trolling

Amin frequently taunted his victims, taking advantage of their insecurities and encouraging self-harm, according to court documents.

Asked by a teenager why he was doing this to her, Amin replied that “depressed girls are the most beautiful [sic] not even lie.

Several underage victims also threatened to harm themselves during discussions with Amin. During such an exchange with a teenage girl, Amin replied, “One of the girls I did this to, she even sent me a video of her slitting her throat.”

Many of his victims have confronted Amin about his age, with some calling him a “paedophile”.

A teenager threatened Amin by saying a family member was a policeman, to which Amin replied, “Your local doctor won’t do anything.”

“Prolific and Malicious Sextortion Scheme”

Amin’s crimes are among the “most prolific and malicious sextortion schemes” the FBI has investigated, said Antony Jung, special agent with the FBI’s Anchorage Field Office.

“This exploitation company targeted hundreds of minors in the United States and abroad through popular social media platforms,” Jung said. “Children would then be coerced into producing sexually explicit material and terrorized by threats of exposure if they did not continue.

“The protection of our children extends beyond borders, and this case demonstrates the multi-jurisdictional approach among local, state, federal and international law enforcement partners to maximize our efforts in pursuing the justice.”

Since Amin was federally charged in Alaska and indicted in Malaysia, Wyoming will not pursue additional charges, McDonald said.

According to the laws of Malaysia, the penalty for a person who manufactures, produces, directs the manufacture or production of child pornography or participates in or engages in it in any way is imprisonment for 30 years at maximum and a whipping of at least six lashes. .

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