Man Pleads Guilty to Cyberstalking, ID Theft and Computer Hacking
RICHMOND, Va. – A Culpeper County man pleaded guilty today to cyberstalking, unauthorized access to a protected computer to obtain information, and aggravated identity theft.
According to court documents, Satyasurya Sahas Thumma, 23, engaged in cyberstalking of two women he had dated after each broke up with him.
From February to April 2018, Thumma dated and had a sexual relationship with Victim 1. During their dating period, Victim 1 sent Thumma multiple nude photos of herself. In April 2018, Victim 1 broke up with Thumma, and Thumma did not take the break up well. After a failed effort to get Victim 1 back, Thumma began an unsettling cyber harassment campaign. Posing as an unknown person, Thumma began sending Victim 1 anonymous text messages via a messaging app that allows users to make text messages appear to come from numbers other than their actual cell phone number. He threatened to post her nude photos to the public, created a Snapchat account to post the nude photos online and invited many of her friends to join the account, and threatened to send the nude photos to Victim 1’s parents, which he eventually did.
Thumma’s relationship with Victim 2 started in the summer of 2018 after they met through an online dating site. Victim 2 also sent Thumma multiple nude photos and videos during the several months they dated. When Victim 2 broke up with Thumma, Thumma used the same anonymizing messaging app that he used with Victim 1 to send harassing and disturbing texts to Victim 2 and her mother. Thumma manipulated Victim 2 with a conspiracy story purportedly involving violent individuals who were threatening him and who had hacked into his online accounts to steal Victim 2’s nude photos. He sent Victim 2 multiple emails from secure, overseas providers that included extortion demands, threats of death, and gruesome photos of women who were dead or being tortured. To add credibility to his violent conspiracy charade, Thumma included his own true phone number and email address on various messages to make it appear that “they” were threatening him as well. In March 2018, Thumma was involved in a DUI accident in Richmond that resulted in him being transported by EMS to the hospital. While lying on a hospital bed wearing a gown that appeared to be spattered with some blood, Thumma feigned being unconscious and took a selfie photograph. Several hours after being released from the hospital, Thumma used the anonymous texting application to send his hospital selfie photo to Victim 2 and her mom with the message, “Ur next.” During the Thumma’s harassment of Victim 2, he sent her nude photos to both her mom and dad, and to their family’s church email address. In addition, Thumma hacked into Victim 2’s Twitter account and sent approximately 30 messages containing her nude photos to her Twitter friends. He also hacked into her Facebook account and changed the password, and claimed in messages to Victim 2 that the violent conspirators were responsible for the Twitter and Facebook hacks.
Thumma faces a maximum penalty of 17 years in prison and $500,000 in fines when sentenced on November 7. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and David W. Archey, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Field Office, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge John A. Gibney, Jr. accepted the plea. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian R. Hood is prosecuting the case.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 3:19-cr-103.