Florida Man Pleads Guilty to Extensive Cyberstalking and Threats Campaign
A Florida man who was charged with conducting an extensive cyberstalking campaign that targeted his former schoolmate, a 30-year-old Massachusetts woman, pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in Boston. The victim’s name is being withheld to protect her privacy.
Byron A. Cardozo, 35, who previously resided in Jacksonville and Tamarac, Florida, pleaded guilty to one count of cyberstalking and one count of making interstate threats. Judge Allison D. Burroughs scheduled the sentencing hearing for Nov. 12. Cardozo was arrested in August 2018 and has been held in custody since.
Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling of the District of Massachusetts, and Special Agent in Charge Joseph R. Bonavolonta of the FBI’s Boston Field Office made the announcement.
According to the indictment to which Carozo pleaded guilty, Cardozo engaged in an 18-month-long, multi-faceted cyberstalking and threats campaign targeting the victim. He launched his campaign in February 2017, shortly after the victim wrote, and had published in an online magazine, an essay describing a one-time, traumatic sexual encounter she had with Cardozo when she was approximately 13 and he was approximately 17 and they attended the same school in Florida. She used pseudonyms for Cardozo and others in the essay. He then sent hundreds of online communications, many of which he made in the “comments” section to the essay and on the victim’s personal website. In those communications, Cardozo claimed that the victim had fabricated her claims about the coercive nature of the 2001 sexual encounter, he provided graphic descriptions of his purported consensual sexual encounter with the victim, and he described how he continued to masturbate to the victim’s photographs. Cardozo also made express and implicit threats to injure the victim.
At other times, he also apologized to her for the traumatic sexual experience in 2001, asked for forgiveness, expressed his love for her, and made veiled threats to commit suicide “because of you.” Cardozo continued to harass and threaten the victim despite the fact that she had obtained a state court order in April 2017, forbidding him from communication with her.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Boston Field Office. Senior Trial Attorney Mona Sedky of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy Harman Burkart, Chief of Lelling’s Cybercrime Unit in the District of Massachusetts, are prosecuting the case.