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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Central District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, September 16, 2022

Former Marine Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison for Cyberstalking Young Women in ‘Sextortion’ Campaign While on Active Duty

          LOS ANGELES – A South Bay man has been sentenced to 60 months in prison for cyberstalking multiple young women in a “sextortion” campaign he waged while he was an active-duty member of the United States Marine Corps, the Justice Department announced today.

          Johao Miguel Chavarri, 26, a.k.a. “Michael Frito,” of Torrance, was sentenced late Thursday afternoon by United States District Judge Maame Ewusi-Mensah Frimpong, who also ordered him to pay a $15,000 fine.

          Chavarri pleaded guilty on May 27 to three counts of cyberstalking.

          From May 2019 to February 2021, Chavarri stalked and sent anonymous threatening communications to numerous victims, including the three victims discussed in court documents.

          Chavarri, often using the name “Frito,” contacted victims on social media platforms, including Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter, complimented their appearance and/or their publicly posted photos, and suggested a relationship in which he would pay the victim to send him photos or videos. Some of the victims initially agreed to Chavarri’s requests and sent him nude, sexually explicit, or compromising photos. When victims either refused Chavarri’s initial request for photos, refused to send him additional photos or videos, or otherwise refused to continue to communicate with him online, Chavarri began to harass, threaten, and extort the victims using numerous online accounts.

          In most cases, he threatened to publish sexual photos and videos of the victims online or on well-known pornography websites and to distribute the sexual photos or videos to the victims’ boyfriends, friends, families, or employers — people he often specifically identified by name. Chavarri threatened his victims and their friends and family that he would ruin their lives. He knew many of his victims personally.

          “Perhaps most troubling is the emotional distress that [Chavarri] intentionally inflicted on his victims,” prosecutors argued in a sentencing memorandum. “He terrified and terrorized them. The young women feared not only for their privacy and their relationships with their friends, family, employers, and community, but also for their physical safety. They suffered, and continue to suffer, significant emotional harm.”

          The FBI investigated with this case with assistance from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

          Assistant United States Attorney Lauren Restrepo of the Cyber and Intellectual Property Crimes Section and Senior Trial Attorney Mona Sedky of the Justice Department’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section prosecuted the case.

Topic(s): 
Cybercrime
Contact: 
Ciaran McEvoy Public Information Officer ciaran.mcevoy@usdoj.gov (213) 894-4465
Press Release Number: 
22-187
Updated September 16, 2022