Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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January 31, 2013

Indiana man to plead guilty to 'sextortion'

(Continued)

The alleged victims ranged in age from 12 to 16, and prosecutors say they lived in eight states — Indiana, West Virginia, Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio, New York, Michigan, Illinois and Colorado.

During questioning by FBI agents, Finkbiner estimated that he had coerced at least 100 young people into making explicit videos, according to court documents. Officials haven't said whether they believe Finkbiner shared the images with anyone.

Prosecutors say the case is an example of "sextortion," a crime that authorities are seeing with greater frequency in which Internet predators catch victims in embarrassing situations online and threaten to expose them unless they create sexually explicit photos or videos. Hogsett has said that Finkbiner's could be the largest case of its kind prosecuted in the U.S.

Michelle Collins, the vice president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's exploited children division, said sextortionists routinely trawl Facebook and other websites searching for embarrassing photos that they can use to blackmail victims.

"It's certainly becoming more of a trend as people share more images online," Collins said.

People should carefully monitor their privacy settings on Facebook and similar sites to prevent such free access, she said.

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