Former Marine Pleads Guilty to Three Counts of Cyberstalking

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

          LOS ANGELES – A South Bay man pleaded guilty today to cyberstalking multiple young women in a “sextortion” campaign he waged while he was an active-duty member of the United States Marine Corps.

          Johao Miguel Chavarri, a.k.a. “Michael Frito,” 25, of Torrance, pleaded guilty to three counts of cyberstalking.

          According to his plea agreement, from May 2019 to February 2021, Chavarri stalked and sent anonymous threatening communications to numerous victims, including three victims discussed in court documents.

          Chavarri, often using the name “Frito,” contacted victims on social media platforms, including Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter, complimented their appearance and 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 of the victims online or on well-known pornography websites 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.

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          United States District Judge Maame Ewusi-Mensah Frimpong scheduled a September 15 sentencing hearing, at which time Chavarri will face a statutory maximum sentence of five years in federal prison for each count.

          The FBI investigated this matter with assistance from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

          Assistant United States Attorney Lauren Restrepo of the Cyber and Intellectual Property Crime Section and Justice Department Senior Trial Attorney Mona Sedky of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section are prosecuting this case.

          Anyone who believes they are a victim in this case or is aware of a victim in this case is urged to contact the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, which can be reached 24 hours a day at (310) 477-6565.