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Wray Highlights FBI Work With Local Police In Sextortion Cases

A teenager in a Michigan town killed himself after an online chat turned to demands that he pay money to keep intimate photos secret. He was one of dozens of people targeted by two men extradited from Nigeria to face charges, said FBI director Christopher Wray. The arrests came after the FBI joined with police in Michigan to investigate the death of Jordan DeMay, 17, one thousands of teenagers targeted in a sharp rise in online “sextortion” cases, reports the Associated Press. “They will face charges in the U.S. for what they did to Jordan, but also unfortunately, a whole bunch of other young men and teenage boys,” Wray said. “You’re talking about a crime that doesn’t respect borders.” Wray highlighted the case in a speech to the International Association of Chiefs of Police about the ways his agency assists police in tackling violent crime, fentanyl and gangs. In a year where tensions between Congress and the FBI have run high, Wray focused on the agency’s relationships with U.S. police departments, including some 6,000 task force officers. After DeMay’s death in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the FBI joined an investigation by the Marquette County sheriff’s departmen and state police. DeMay thought he was chatting with a girl his own age on Instagram, and the conversation turned to a request for explicit pictures. Once he shared images of himself, the talk changed to demands for money in exchange for the other side not sending the images to DeMay’s family and friends. DeMay had never been talking with a girl. The FBI said that on the other end were two brothers from Nigeria using a hacked Instagram account. The FBI has seen a tenfold increase in “sextortion” cases since 2021. A least 3,000 children and teens have been targeted, and more than a dozen have killed themselves. Many schemes originate with scammers in African countries such as Nigeria and the Ivory Coast. Most victims are between 14 and 17, but kids as young as 10 have been targeted.

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