(FOX 11) - Detectives from the LASD Human Trafficking Bureau, SAFE Team began investigating a report of an 11-year-old female being extorted for sexually explicit images over the internet. The victim disclosed to detectives that two years prior, when she was just 9-years-old, she was viewing the Instagram page of superstar Justin Bieber, when she received a direct message from another Instagram user.
That user (the suspect) stated that he knew Bieber and offered to arrange a text meeting with the victim. Excited at the proposition to text with Justin Bieber, the young victim accepted the offer and was directed to set up an account on the social media site, KIK.
The victim then began communicating on KIK with someone she believed was actually Justin Bieber. A short time later, the suspect, who represented himself to be Bieber, began demanding nude photos of the victim and threatened harm if she didn't cooperate. The victim cooperated and sent nude selfies and video as the suspect had demanded. After sending the pictures, the victim deleted the texts between her and the suspect and kept the incident a secret.
Two years later, in 2016, the suspect twice contacted the victim and threatened to publish and broadcast the previously obtained photos if the victim didn't supply additional nude photos and video. The victim reported the incident to her mother, who contacted the authorities.
Based on the information provided, Sheriff's Detectives served several search warrants for information from the relevant social media sites and were able to identify the suspect as Bryan Asrary MW/24 of Revere, Massachusetts. The evidence revealed that the sextortion had been committed from across the nation.
On Sunday, December 18, 2016, Los Angeles County Sheriff's detectives traveled to Revere, Massachusetts, and with the assistance of the State Police, located and arrested Bryan Asrary and served a search warrant at his residence.
During an interview with Bryan Asrary, he not only confessed to extorting the victim for sexual images and videos, but also implicated himself in similar crimes against other young girls throughout the country. Asrary was arrested by the Massachusetts State Police for possession of child pornography, which was discovered on his cellphone and computer at the time of the warrant. Additional victims will be identified as part of the ongoing investigation.
His bail was set at $20,000.
In addition to local charges in Massachusetts, Asrary will face multiple charges in California to include, extortion, manufacturing child pornography, and communicating with a minor with the intent to commit a sex act. When convicted, the suspect faces a sentence of several years in prison.
Investigators established that the suspect had no actual connection to singer/songwriter Justin Bieber, but simply fabricated the relationship to influence his young victims.
For additional information contact:
After Hours: SIB: 213-229-1700
Sergeant Peter Hahn: 323-526-5154
Lieutenant Kent Wegener: 323-526-5159
Partner to prevent or report crime by contacting your local Sheriff's Station. If you wish to remain anonymous, call "LA Crime Stoppers" by dialing 800-222-TIPS (8477), or use your smartphone by downloading the "P3 Tips" Mobile APP or "P3 Mobile" for the hearing impaired on Google play or the App Store, or by using the website http://lacrimestoppers.org.