A California man pleaded guilty today to cyberstalking multiple young women in California in a “sextortion” campaign he waged while he was an active-duty member of the U.S. Marine Corps.
According to court documents, from 2019 through 2021, Johao Miguel Chavarri, aka Michael Frito, 25, of Torrance, stalked and sent anonymous threatening communications to numerous victims, including the three victims discussed in court documents.
Sextortion & Cyberstalking
Chavarri, often using the name “Frito,” contacted victims on social media platforms, including Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter, complimented their appearance and/or their publicly posted photos, and suggested a relationship in which he would pay the victim to send him photos or videos. Some of the victims initially agreed to Chavarri’s requests and sent him nude, sexually explicit, or compromising photos. When victims either refused Chavarri’s initial request for photos, refused to send him additional photos or videos, or otherwise refused to continue to communicate with him online, Chavarri began to harass, threaten, and extort the victims using numerous online accounts.
In most cases, he threatened to publish sexual photos and videos (sextortion) of the victims online or on well-known pornography websites and/or to distribute the sexual photos or videos to the victims’ boyfriends, friends, families, or employers — people he often specifically identified by name. Chavarri threatened his victims and their friends and family that he would ruin their lives.
Chavarri pleaded guilty to three counts of cyberstalking. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 15 and faces up to five years in prison on each count. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison for the Central District of California; Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division; and Supervisory Special Agent Adam Smith of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office made the announcement.
The FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, Long Beach Resident Agency, investigated the case, with assistance from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lauren Restrepo for the Central District of California and Senior Trial Attorney Mona Sedky of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section are prosecuting the case.