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Sextortion of gay men through dating apps included Colorado victims

A 28-year-old man from Chicago pleaded guilty last month to all 22 counts of cyberstalking, sextortion and identity theft brought against him in federal court. 

Omoruyi O. Uwadiae victimized an undisclosed number of victims in multiple states including Ohio, Colorado and Washington. 

One of the first documents filed against Uwadiae in the South District of Ohio court suggests "dozens" of victims. Uwadiae was a resident of Washington state at the time of the filing in April. 

The document detailed Uwadiae's actions against eight victims in that Ohio district during an eight-month period of 2019. During that time, Uwadiae approached those eight men on Grindr and other social media sites. Grindr is social networking and dating app that advertises itself as intended for "gay, bi, trans, queer, or even just LBGTQ-curious" users. 

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Uwadiae approached men under the guise of seeking sex with them, according to federal prosecutors' description in the document. Uwadiae obtained sexually explicit photos of the men with their consent, then turned on them and threatened to expose the men publicly by posting the photos on social media and, in several cases, by sending the images directly to friends and family members of the men.

Uwadiae would then demand sex or money from the men in exchange for the deletion of the images from social media. In some cases, Uwadiae urged victims to make damaging statements publicly, such as admissions of being racist. 

"Pay me $200 and I won't post it (sic) pics, vids, number, and name online," Uwadiawe alleged texted one of his first victims. The next day, he demanded the money again and included a link to a post on Male General, a blog and messaging site marketed to gay men. The post included the victim's name, city of residence, Instagram handle, and two videos showing the man engaging in sex acts which had been previously recorded.

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Uwadiae created a publicly viewable Facebook page using the maiden of one victim's mother. The page's profile photo depicted that victim's face as he engaged in sexual activity with another male. 

Uwadiae created several Grindr accounts using one victim's photos, then posted comments on them about that victim despising Black men, according to the case document. Uwadiae later messaged that victim, "Did your sister tell you about your nudes I sent her? Lol." He also threatened to contact that victim's employer.

Uwadiae instructed another victim buy him $100 gift cards. Then "I'll consider not carrying out with my actions," Uwadiae allegedly messaged the victim.  

Many of Uwadiae's victims had not publicly disclosed their sexual orientation, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

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Prosecutors accused Uwadiae of attempting to extort his victims through Grindr, Male General, Snapchat, Twitter/X, Facebook, Google Voice, Instgram, Pinger, TextMe, TextNow, and text messages.  

Uwadiae pleaded guilty to all charges on May 22. He faces up to five years in prison for each of the eight counts of cyberstalking, two years in prison for each count of making interstate communications with the intent to extort, and five years for each of the seven counts of unlawfully using a means of identification.  

A sentencing date has not been set. 

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