Duo targeted poker players for effort at sextortion

Two Silicon Valley men were sentenced today to federal prison terms of three and half years and two years for their roles in a scheme that used naked photographs and other private information stolen from email accounts in an attempt to extort hundreds of thousands of dollars from professional players on the World Poker Tour.

Tyler Schrier, 23, of Menlo Park, was sentenced to 42 months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy, extortion and unauthorized access to a protected computer to obtain information.

In addition to the sextortion plot, Schrier admitted that he had previously extorted and received more than $26,000 from professional poker players in another plot. He further admitted that while free on bond after being charged in the sextortion case, he illegally accessed two email accounts that allowed him to steal approximately $4,000 from online poker accounts.

The second man sentenced Monday, Keith James Hudson, 39, of San Jose, California, received a two-year prison term after pleading guilty to unauthorized access to a protected computer to obtain information for purposes of private financial gain. Hudson admitted that he hacked into a poker player’s email account, stole naked photographs from the illegally accessed account, and plotted with Schrier to extort poker players with those naked images.

Schrier and Hudson were sentenced by United States District Judge S. James Otero.

According to court documents, the sextortion scheme took place in the fall of 2010, after members of the conspiracy illegally accessed an email account belonging to Joe Sebok. Armed with intimate e-mails and photographs of the victim, Schrier threatened to post those intimate photographs and e-mails on the Internet unless Sebok and other victims paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in extortion payments. Sebok and the other victims in this sextortion case did not make any payments.

As part of the scheme, in November 2010, Schrier sent an e-mail with a nude photograph of Sebok to approximately 100 individuals.

During today’s sentencing hearing, Sebok addressed the court and said the victims of the plot had “their lives altered and shattered in irreparable ways.”

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