A 46-year old Crescent man was convicted in federal court last week of two counts of cyberstalking.
The case began when Troy Allen Martin met an Oklahoma public school teacher on an online dating site. According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office, Martin and the woman had a brief romantic relationship. During that time, he obtained nude photos of the woman.
After the relationship ended, Martin used those pictures to threaten the woman and extort money from her.
He texted her saying, "How much is it worth not to send [the] pictures?"
She replied to his texts, begging, "Please don't do this to me."
Martin was unmoved, writing, "No u hurt me so now I want something for it."
When the teacher asked what he wanted, Martin replied, "Money." He threatened to send the pictures to her school and to her family, and to publish them on YouTube and Facebook.
Initially, he attempted to get $100,000 from her to keep him from publishing the pictures. Ultimately, he was able to extort $50,000 from her.
In addition to extorting money from the woman through the threat of publication of the photos, Martin also continually harassed her through phone calls and text messages, often using a spoofed number, and he threatened the safety of her family.
The woman, who says she was "petrified" and consumed with trying to placate the man, eventually turned to police for help.
In October, a federal grand jury indicted Martin on two counts of cyberstalking. In November, he pleaded guilty.
His defense attorney says that his client's behavior was spurred by mental health issues and the recent collapse of his own marriage. His lawyer wrote, "His criminal behavior is personally embarrassing to him, and he is remorseful for the harm it has caused."
During the time he was cyberstalking and threatening the woman he met on the dating site, he was also stalking his ex-wife. He repeatedly called her cell phone and place of employment, harassing her. He pleaded guilty in October to a misdemeanor count of stalking in Ottawa County.
In sentencing Martin in the federal case, United States District Judge Stephen P. Friot noted that the defendant not only stalked the victim in the federal case, but had also stalked a second victim in the state case. Judge Friot sentenced Martin to 33 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release. Additionally, he must pay $50,000 in restitution to the victim and must pay a $5,000 fine.
According to 18 U.S.C. 875, attempting to extort money through cyberstalking is punishable by up to two years in prison.