An Israeli man was sentenced Friday to 30 years in federal prison for blackmailing dozens of girls into producing child pornography for him, according to officials.
U.S. District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez sentenced Elad Gaber, 39, and ordered him to be placed on lifetime supervision after he is released from prison, officials stated.
Gaber plead guilty on May 7 to one count of use of a facility of interstate commerce to induce a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity.
In court today, some of Gaber’s victims spoke of the emotional impact they suffered from his actions, which led some to substance abuse, suicide attempts, and lost educational and employment opportunities.
Several victims also told the court that despite the trauma, they have managed to overcome what happened to them.
As one victim concluded her statement today in court, she told Gaber, “Not only am I a victim, but I am a survivor.”
Since at least 2010, Gaber executed a systematic “sextortion” scheme on dozens of victims, beginning with obtaining compromising videos of the girls.
Gaber located victims through social media and found some type of “embarrassing” material of them, usually suggestive or nude photos.
He would then locate the victim on Facebook, copy her contact list, and threaten to release her compromising video to her entire contact list – often including her parents and schoolmates – if she did not live-stream sex acts according to a detailed script.
If the victims did not immediately comply, Gaber blackmailed them by sending them screenshots of the consequences of noncompliance, often either of a prewritten, but unsent, message to those close to the girls with the embarrassing material attached or the aftermath for previous victims where he had sent the material.
For those who complied, Gaber would demand the girl perform the script on herself over a video chat while he gave live feedback and criticism.
For several victims, Gaber used the material from the cam sessions as further material with which to blackmail them.
If a victim refused to do as he demanded, Gaber would vengefully distribute her prior compromising material to some of her social media contacts, which often included the victims’ parents, officials stated.
In 2014, a federal grand jury in Los Angeles indicted Gaber after a victim in Southern California reported him to law enforcement.
Israel extradited Gaber to the United States last year to face criminal charges in this case.
The FBI investigated this matter.