In April, Eddie Matos was arrested on charges that he solicited nude Snapchat photos from teen boys and men using a fake Facebook profile in which he pretended to be a 13-year-old girl named Casey Morales. (Creating a fake social media profile to establish a relationship with people online is known as “catfishing,” after a 2010 documentary called “Catfish” that told the story of a young man deceived by a fake Facebook profile.)
The solicitation of nude Snapchat photos was serious enough, but Matos allegedly took things a step further. After receiving the photos, Matos contacted his victims and made two demands: that the victim send him a $25 iTunes gift card, and that the victim post a sexually explicit video of himself on an unnamed Web site. If the victim refused to do so, Matos said that he would post a montage of the victim’s nude photos to the victim’s Facebook page and send the photos to friends and family. The use of nude photos or embarrassing messages to blackmail someone into creating more explicit images or even engaging in sexual conduct is known as sextortion, and it has been identified by the FBI as an increasingly serious problem around the country.
Instead of giving into the demands by Matos, one victim reported the interaction to the West Hartford police. An investigator quickly determined that “Casey Morales” was actually Matos; armed with that information, the investigator obtained additional data from Google, Facebook, and Yahoo! that revealed that Matos had created several fake profiles and that he had victimized at least 18 boys and men around the state of Connecticut. He was originally charged as a juvenile, but the case was later moved to adult court.
If convicted on the original felony charges, Matos could have been sentenced to years in prison. However, none of his victims were willing to appear in court or testify against him. Given that fact and given that Matos is currently undergoing treatment for mental illness, his attorney and the prosecutor negotiated the plea deal to which Matos agreed on Friday. Among the terms of the probation are requirements that Matos continue his mental health treatments and that he make his computer available for searches by law enforcement.