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SDNY Unseals Extortion Indictment: Catfishing Blackmail Scheme Targets CEO & Affluent Men

While it is not atypical for a victim of Extortion, Blackmail, Sextortion, or some other fraud scheme to summon the courage and fortitude to stand up to the campaign of terror waged by his or her abuser, there is a reason you do not hear much about these extortees turning to law enforcement out of concern of the obvious: what embarrassed or humiliated them so much, true or not, will ultimately find its way into the public arena. That said, similar to a catfishing Blackmail matter I brought on behalf of a victim to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office that resulted in the extortee’s indictment, conviction, and incarceration for scheming our client and other men she met on an online adult site, Damian Williams, United States Attorney for the Southern District Of New York, along with the FBI, announced the indictment of Sakoya Blackwood for Catfishing, Sextortion, and Blackmail. Like the case referenced above, it is alleged Blackwood targeted high net worth men with public profiles in order to maximize her ill gotten gains.

According to the press release, indictment, and articles, Blackwood based her demands for money on her target’s inappropriate conduct, embarrassing behavior, or things she may or may not have concocted on her own to terrorize at least one man, a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a publicly traded company. More specifically, the now unsealed indictment formally charges her with Interstate Communications with the Intent to Extort, Cyberstalking, and Extortion. Should she be convicted by either plea or a jury of her peers, a judge can sentence Blackwood to as much as twenty years incarceration on the most significant offense.

Blackwood, also purportedly known as Lila Cohen and Koya Fews, is accused of using at least one of her multiple identities to coerce the CEO into paying her a sum of money under extreme duress. By way of text messages and other means, Blackwood supposedly frightened the CEO that should he not relent to her demands, Blackwood would release sexually explicit photographs and communications between the parties. Although it is not clear in the indictment what said images and messages depicted, the indictment claims, among other things, that by way of an electronic system or communication service of interstate commerce, it was Blackwood’s intent to harass her target and cause him emotional distress or she knew it was reasonable to expect her actions would do the same. In doing so, it is asserted that Blackwood used the threats of harm to the CEO’s reputation and financial standing to ultimately perpetrate what boils down to a money grab.

According to reports, when the FB executed a search warrant at the home Blackwood shared with her family, law enforcement recovered numerous forms of identification with Blackwood’s picture including  Arizona driver’s licenses in the name of Louren Hennessy and Harper Dean, a California driver’s license in the name of Susannah Forest, and a New York City ID card reflecting her real name. Although it is not clear what she intended to do with it, the FBI also recovered a hospital badge in the name of Jessica Bottomley, M.D.

Based on statements by the US Attorney and others, it appears that prosecutors believe there are other victims and they are encouraging them to come forward. Whether search warrants reveal who these men are, they come forward on their own, or they remain in the shadows, one thing is certainly clear: Blackmail, Sextortion, and related crimes are not merely financial crimes but the types of offenses that can obliterate and destroy careers, otherwise good names, and families.

Should you find yourself a victim of Blackmail, Extortion, or any of these cowardly selfish acts over days, months, or years, seize the power dynamic from your abuser and take the steps to protect yourself whether by way of law enforcements or private counsel. The alternative of, allowing yourself to remain a victim, is untenable.

Saland Law, PC, a law firm founded by Jeremy Saland, a former Manhattan prosecutor, protects victims of Extortion, Blackmail, Sextortion, Stalking, and related offenses with or without the assistance of law enforcement. The “gold standard” ending Blackmail victimization within the four corners of the law, Jeremy Saland and Sage Intelligence’s former NYPD Detective Herman Weisberg are the “’A-Team’ of ex-lawmen help[ing] to extract victims from blackmail ploys” in New York and well beyond its borders.

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