Jonathan Kassi Bio – Jonathan Kassi Wiki
Jonathan Kassi has been arrested in connection with an online scam that led to a teen’s tragic suicide in February.
Jonathan Kassi is 25 years old.
DETAIL OF INCIDENCE:
On Dec. 15, Jonathan Kassi was booked at Santa Clara County Main Jail for “extortion and attempted disorderly conduct — posting a photograph or recording without consent,” the San José Police Department announced in a statement.
“Suspect Kassi sexually exploited children online utilizing the usernames ’emillysmith’ and ‘kassijonathan’ on various social media applications,” added the statement, which revealed that the warrant resulted from an investigation into West African financial sextortion by the San José Police Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force.
Kassi will make his first court appearance in Santa Clara County court on Monday to enter a plea, the New York Post reported.
Although police withheld the victim’s name because he was a minor, his mother, Pauline Stuart, confirmed to CNN that it was her son, Ryan Last.
The teenager was days away from turning 18 and weeks away from graduating from Ann Sobrato High School, according to the New York Post.
Stuart told CNN that authorities found her son was contacted online by someone pretending to be a girl and that the conversation quickly turned intimate. The online perpetrator also sent Last a romantic picture of a young female and asked for one of him in return, CNN reported.
After Last shared an intimate photo of his own, the perpetrator demanded $5,000, threatening to make the photo public and send it to his family and friends, investigators said via CNN.
Within hours, police said, a panicked Ryan tragically took his own life, CNN reported.
The victim’s mother spoke with ABC7 News in San Francisco about the arrest, saying that while it was welcome, it did not bring closure to her family.
“I’m very beyond grateful that it happened,” she said. “But deep down, I would rather have my son.”
The suspect’s arrest was announced the same day the Justice Department issued a public safety alert on financial sextortion schemes over an “explosion in incidents of children and teens being coerced into sending explicit images online and extorted for money.”
“Over the past year, law enforcement has received over 7,000 reports related to the online financial sextortion of minors, resulting in at least 3,000 victims, primarily boys, and more than a dozen suicides,” it added.
“A large percentage of these sextortion schemes originate outside of the United States, and primarily in West African countries such as Nigeria and Ivory Coast. As many children enter winter break this holiday season, the FBI and our partners implore parents and caregivers to engage with their kids about financial sextortion schemes so we can prevent them in the first place.”
According to authorities, financial sextortion schemes occur online where young people feel most comfortable — using common social media sites, gaming sites, or video chat applications that feel familiar and safe. Online predators frequently use fake female accounts and pursue minor males between 14 to 17 years old, but the FBI has interviewed victims as young as 10.