Man Sentenced in High-Profile Sextortion Case

Jonathan Kassi, 26, has been sentenced to time served and supervised release in a high-profile sextortion case that drew national attention. Kassi, who admitted to one count of felony extortion, has been in custody since December and will be released under the terms of a plea agreement. Judge David Cena sentenced Kassi to a three-year prison sentence, with half to be served in county jail and half on probation under supervision. Due to the time already spent in jail, the in-custody portion has been fulfilled.

For the next year and a half, Kassi will be monitored by the Santa Clara County probation department, despite residing in the Los Angeles area at the time of his arrest. He will be subject to conditions including warrantless searches of his electronic devices and a prohibition from enrolling on any social media platform. Two other charges were dropped as part of the plea agreement.

Ryan Last, the victim in this case, died by suicide on February 26, 2022, after being targeted in a sextortion scheme. Last had been corresponding online with someone he believed to be a girl, and their conversation became intimate, leading to the exchange of sexually revealing photos. Last was then blackmailed for money, with the demands eventually dropping to $150. After paying the smaller amount, the demands persisted. The investigation revealed that Kassi, although not directly communicating with Last, facilitated the scheme by managing email addresses and a bank account for extortion payments.

Pauline Stuart, Last’s mother, spoke at the sentencing hearing, describing the devastating impact of losing her son. She emphasized the need for awareness and prevention of sextortion schemes. Stuart also expressed her desire for restrictions on Kassi’s online activities, but the court stated that an internet ban was beyond its authority.

Stuart acknowledged the judge’s reasoning and called for modernizing state laws to address the seriousness of sextortion crimes.

Author: CrimeDoor

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