Court Authorizes the Seizure of Domains Used in Furtherance of a Cryptocurrency “Pig Butchering” Scheme
RICHMOND, Va. – A Culpeper County man was sentenced yesterday to over six years in prison for cyberstalking, unauthorized access to a protected computer to obtain information, and aggravated identity theft.
According to court documents, from February to April 2018, Satyasurya Sahas Thumma, 23, 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 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, he 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 2019, 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 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.
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 sentencing by U.S. District Judge John A. Gibney, Jr. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian R. Hood prosecuted 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.
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