A fake model scout threatened women who did not share revealing photos, North Carolina officials say.
Now he will serve time in prison in connection with the extortion case, according to the New Hanover & Pender County District Attorney’s Office.
Kevin Allen Kerney, 33, went online and posed as a modeling agent, prosecutors said in a press release Monday.
He tricked the women “to make them feel comfortable dealing with a woman who worked in the modeling industry,” Assistant District Attorney Connie Jordan said in the statement.
During her scam, Kerney “solicited photographs in various states of dress and undress for potential modeling jobs,” officials said.
He said he would share the embarrassing photos with the models’ relatives and friends – unless the women sent him more revealing photos, according to the district attorney.
He made those threats to at least 14 aspiring models across the Tar Heel State who provided photos, prosecutors say.
In New Hanover County, two of the three women he targeted were students at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, a college near the coast, according to Samantha Dooies, a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office.
Kerney pleaded guilty Monday to three counts of cyberstalking and criminal extortion, according to the news release.
He filed similar pleas on Jan. 8 in Guilford County, home to Greensboro, the statement said.
A UNC Greensboro student first brought the so-called “sextortion” scheme to the attention of authorities, The News & Observer previously reported.
Kerney, who is a Randolph County native, is spending 13 to 25 months in jail, according to New Hanover County officials. During three years of probation after his release from prison, he will be banned from social media and undergo mental health examinations tailored to sex offenders, officials say.
“These young women had the courage to come forward to make sure Mr. Kerney couldn’t do this to someone else,” Jordan said in the press release.
This story was originally published January 28, 2020 2:34 p.m.