A 23-year-old Anaheim man was charged today with using a Facebook scam to trick a teenage girl into sending him nude photos that he allegedly used in a sextortion scheme -- and authorities are worried there are more victims out there.
Victor Alfonso Pineda pleaded not guilty to seven counts of contacting a minor with intent to possess child pornography, three counts of using a threatening letter for extortion, two counts of extortion by force or threat and two counts of attempting to use a minor for sex acts, all felonies.
Pineda was accused of setting up a Facebook profile, using a high school boy's image to "befriend" underage girls between October 2013 and February of this year, Deputy District Attorney Jess Rodriguez said.
Pineda allegedly had "inappropriate contact" with six underage girls 12 to 14 years old, Rodriguez said.
Pineda allegedly contacted a 14-year-old girl between January and February with the phony Facebook profile and persuaded her to send nude photos of herself, Rodriguez said.
Pineda then extorted the girl into sending her more sexually explicit photos and videos with a threat of sharing the photos he had with other high school students, Rodriguez alleged.
Pineda allegedly extorted the girl into taking nude photos of a 12-year- old female relative, Rodriguez said. Then he contacted the younger girl and threatened to make the photos of the older girl public if she did not send more nude photos of herself and an adult female relative of hers, Rodriguez alleged.
The 12-year-old girl told the adult female relative about the threats, prompting a call to police, who arrested Pineda Wednesday, Rodriguez said.
Anaheim police have found four other girls who allege they also were victimized, Rodriguez said.
Investigators suspect there may be more victims, he said.
"We know there are plenty of other Facebook profiles he's been talking to, so it's just a matter of contacting and finding those girls and verifying who they are," Rodriguez said. "I would not be surprised if there's additional charges at the next court date."
The allegations should serve as a cautionary tale to students and parents that not everyone is who they say they are on social networking sites and that it is unwise to share sexually explicit photos, Rodriguez said.
Anyone with information that could be helpful to investigators was asked to contact Supervising District Attorney Investigator Paul Carvo at (714) 347- 8794 or Anaheim detective Michael Cunha at (714) 765-1976.
Pineda could face 11 years and four months in prison if convicted at trial. He was being held on $100,000 bail.
--City News Service