FBI arrests Orange County man in 'sextortion' case
An Orange County man has been charged by federal authorities with allegedly using malicious software to download sexually explicit photos of scores of women and girls and using those images to extort additional pornographic materials from them, officials said Tuesday.
Luis Mijangos allegedly victimized at least 44 girls and 186 women in the so-called sextortion case, according to a 23-page criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. Federal authorities expect the number of victims to grow.
Mijangos, a paraplegic wounded in a gang shooting, was being held on $10,000 bail Tuesday after making his first appearance in federal court.
The complaint was filed after a two-year investigation by the FBI's cyber squad and alleges Mijangos used software to hack into computers and extract data he would later use to threaten his victims.
The software allowed him access to all files, pictures and videos on an infected computer. It also allowed him to access any web camera and microphone attached to an infected computer remotely to watch and listen to unknowing victims, according to the criminal complaint.
Mijangos also was allegedly found with screen grabs of financial information from his victims, including credit cards, websites and accounts with TurboTax, T-Mobile, Netflix, Paypal, HSBC and Chase Bank.
In one case, investigators claim Mijangos sent an e-mail to a victim, identified as K.S. from Washington state, in which he attached a pornographic picture of the victim and threatened to expose the images to her family if she did not send him an explicit video of herself or if she told anyone, the complaint alleges.
"I will publish the images and let your family know about your dark side...so you better do that video, send it to me via e-mail and you will never hear from me ever," Mijangos said in the e-mail, according to the criminal complaint.
"If I don't hear from you then your family will hear from me," he wrote in another e-mail, the complaint stated.
In another case, a 20-year-old woman said she placed a sticker over her web cam earlier this month when she believed it was being accessed without her permission.
Mijangos had dozens of videos from web cameras that showed unknowing victims in various states of undress including stepping out of the shower, getting dressed or having sex, the FBI alleges in the affidavit.
Authorities said many of the victims were unidentified and many appeared to be minors.
Federal authorities also found screen grabs of financial information including credit cards, websites and accounts with TurboTax, T-Mobile, Netflix, Paypal, HSBC and Chase Bank during a search of Mijangos' Santa Ana home.
The case grew out of a 2009 investigation by the Glendale Police Department involving a woman who suspected she was being stalked by her ex-boyfriend. The case was turned over to the FBI, which found evidence pointing to Mijangos.
Forensic analysis tied the suspect to hacking activity dating back to 2008, the federal complaint alleges.
Mijangos, a Mexican national, allegedly told agents he hacked into the accounts of female victims at the request of boyfriends and husbands who suspected their partners of cheating, the complaint alleges.
He told authorities he had asked the victims for additional sexually explicit videos to see if they would actually do it, not to extort them. Federal authorities said that even after they served a search warrant on him in March, he continued to engage in criminal activity.
He allegedly used the name guicho and the e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org to reach the women. Anyone with information is asked to contact the FBI's Los Angeles office at 310- 477-6565.
-- Andrew Blankstein