TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10)– U.S. District Judge Thomas P. Barber has sentenced Christopher Buonocore (35, Hicksville, NY) to 15 years in federal prison for cyberstalking multiple victims. As part of his sentence, the court also entered a restitution order of $164,295.01, payable to the victims of the offense.
Buonocore had pleaded guilty in January 2021.READ MORE: 50 migrants found dead in back of tractor trailer in San Antonio
According to court documents, over a seven-year period, Buonocore used fictitious phone numbers, text messages, and social media accounts to harass, intimidate, cyberstalk, and attempt to sextort six women, including a minor. Buonocore’s harassment campaign involved posting thousands of sexually explicit and nude images of the victims to the internet, as well as the victims’ personal identifying information, including phone numbers, addresses, and social media account identifiers. Buonocore also solicited individuals on the internet to contact and harass the victims, including, at times, enlisting those individuals to attempt to extort additional sexually explicit images from the victims (sometimes referred to as “sextortion”) and other times encouraging these individuals to rape a victim.READ MORE: Tampa Bay LGBTQ+ Community Fears Future SCOTUS Decisions Following Roe v. Wade Reversal
During the course of conduct, certain victims discovered that Buonocore was the source of the harassment and confronted him. Despite becoming aware of the emotional and psychological harm caused by his actions, Buonocore continued to engage in the same course of conduct.
“The victims in this case did not let fear silence them. They courageously came forward and worked with law enforcement to help bring this individual’s campaign of torment and terror to an end. The FBI urges any victim of online threats to report the crime. We have the resources and the commitment to investigate these cowardly acts,” said FBI Tampa Division Special Agent in Charge Michael McPherson.MORE NEWS: Some US Companies Will Cover Travel Costs For Employees Who Need An Abortion
Sextortion occurs when someone threatens to distribute another person’s private and sensitive material if they do not provide the perpetrator with sexually explicit images, sexual favors, or money. The perpetrator may also threaten to harm the victim’s friends or relatives by using information they have obtained from the victim’s electronic devices unless the victim complies with their demands. Cyberstalking and sextortion are serious crimes that are investigated and prosecuted, and victims’ identities can be shielded from the public. Anyone who has been the victim of cyberstalking or sextortion should contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL FBI (225-5324). More resources are available at https://www.fbi.gov/video-repository/newss-what-is-sextortion/view.