GREENSBORO, N.C. — A man was arrested by UNC-Greensboro police after a three-month "sextortion" investigation, according to the university.
Kevin Kerney, 31, of Denton, is accused of pretending to be a modeling agent to solicit photos and extort social media accounts of young women.
UNCG reports the man offered the women the opportunity to become a model and requested revealing photographs.
Kerney then reportedly threatened to make the images public unless the victims shared private information, such as social media accounts and passwords.
He is charged with five counts of felony extortion and five counts of misdemeanor cyber stalking. More charges are forthcoming.
He was arrested after a UNCG student came forward and told authorities. Police believe the scam involved more than 40 victims in North Carolina, Virginia, and potentially South Carolina, including five at UNCG.
Anyone else who may have been impacted by this crime is asked to contact local law enforcement immediately.
UNC-Greensboro issued the following statement:
We are grateful to the victims who have come forward. It is because of their courage that we have been able to successfully apprehend and charge a dangerous individual with a a series of significant criminal acts. We are also exceptionally proud of the dedicated, professional work of our UNCG Police officers who pursued this case tirelessly. This outcome helps protect our students and so many individuals across the region who were victimized by this scam.
We believe there may be more victims who have not yet come forward. We encourage anyone with information about this or any other similar crimes to contact their local police department.
Please be vigilant about your security on social media, and keep in mind that some individuals strategically take advantage of the anonymity that comes with social media. Remember that the individuals with whom you interact via social media may not always be who or what they seem.
We will continue to support the effort across multiple states and law enforcement agencies to investigate this case and achieve a successful and just outcome.