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Marquette sextortion case highlights frequency, danger of the crime

A photo of Marquette County, Mich., teen Jordan DeMay. (Photo courtesy of DeMay family/WLUC-TV)
A photo of Marquette County, Mich., teen Jordan DeMay. (Photo courtesy of DeMay family/WLUC-TV)
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GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- Jordan DeMay of Marquette is just one of more than 100 people federal authorities believe were the victims of three Nigerian men awaiting extradition to the United States.

A federal indictment accuses Samuel Ogoshi, 22, Samson Ogoshi, 20, and Ezekiel Robert, 19, all of Lagos, Nigeria with sextortion, blackmailing DeMay and two other unnamed victims into paying them money or risk exposure of sexually explicit pictures the victims sent to the suspects.

DeMay's suicide in March of 2022 is a tragic reminder of how dangerous a crime it can be.

"As parents, we can't begin to imagine what Jordan went through that night and how scared he was because of this senseless act," said DeMay's mom Jennifer Buta.

At a news conference announcing the charges, federal authorities said that DeMay isn't the only victim.

Sextortion cases are rising as part of a disturbing trend -- one local authorities are seeing too.

The Brown County Sheriff's Office says it deals with at least one new sextortion case a week.

“We just had a case today come in from a school resource officer in Denmark. So, we're running with that case as well," said Sgt. Matthew Wilson. "So, it's, honestly on average, it's probably weekly for us -- just here at the sheriff's office for us. That doesn't even include Green Bay or De Pere or any of those guys."

Just like the DeMay case, a lot of these sextortion plots are coming from overseas.

“It's become a pretty profitable crime, if you will, for the suspects in these cases because everything is online," explained Wilson. "It's very hard to track.”

Through social media contact, using fake accounts, these perpetrators are able to gain the trust of their victims very quickly, sometimes within minutes.

“It just keeps happening because people are unfortunately vulnerable enough to get taken advantage of whether that be a teenager or even the adult we've seen get taken advantage of because that person either just doesn't know, doesn't understand or thinks that they might know this person enough to trust them, which obviously isn't the case,” added Wilson.

He says people need to protect themselves on social media and don't let these perpetrators slip into your DM's or life.

“As much as you want to have your friends and stuff like that on Facebook be visible, lock all that stuff down," explained Wilson, "because that's how, if they are going to send the images to an aunt or mom or dad, that's typically how they find the information out.”

But as Wilson says, if you find yourself in a sextortion situation, understand the threats you're receiving are most likely empty. And if you don't pay up, the perpetrators will just move on to the next person. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't report these incidents.

“If it does happen and you do get sucked in, then at least come forward and notify us so that we can attempt to do something,” said Wilson.

And while the charges against the three Nigerians who took advantage of DeMay won't bring him back -- local, state and federal authorities want victims to know they're not alone.

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