A federal judge refused Friday to set bail for a Great Neck man accused of trying to coerce women into sending him sexually explicit pictures of themselves.
U.S. Magistrate Gary Brown, sitting in U.S. District Court in Central Islip, ordered federal marshals to transport Adam Savader, 21, to Michigan, where the charges were filed.
Savader was arrested Tuesday at his home and charged with Internet extortion and cyberstalking involving 15 women between last May and February 2013, officials said.
The criminal complaint said Savader hacked into the victims' accounts to get their intimate pictures, then threatened to post the photos on the Internet if they didn't send him more pictures or contact him.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Allen Bode said in court Friday that investigators now believe there may be 23 victims, but that prosecutors are having difficulty accessing Savader's cloud-based computer files.
The initial complaint came from a woman who said someone had gotten into her computer and found "naked photos of herself" that she had never shared with anyone. A person who identified himself as "John Smith" threatened to send the pictures to her parents and others unless she sent him other naked pictures of herself, court papers said.
In some cases Savader did not ask the victims for new nude pictures, but rather asked for him to be accepted as a Facebook friend or just to start texting with him.
The case originated in Michigan based on a complaint from an unidentified woman from Great Neck attending college there, court papers said. Prosecutors say many of the alleged victims are college students who knew Savader.
At a hearing Tuesday in the same courthouse, Magistrate Arlene Lindsay declined to release Savader on bail so he could travel with his lawyer, Michael Soshnick of Mineola, to federal court in Detroit for arraignment. Lindsay said Savader posed a danger to the community because of his computer savviness.
Soshnick said previously that his client had dropped out of college to work on Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign and then for Paul Ryan's vice-presidential bid. The attorney told Brown that his client is now a student at Farmingdale State College.
A Farmingdale spokesman confirmed that Savader is a first-semester student who has been suspended.
With Patricia Kitchen