"They Destroyed My Son's Life"

Mother of 'sextortion' victim speaks out

WEST JORDAN, Utah (ABC4 Utah) - "They destroyed my son's life." 
 
October 30th, 2015 is a day Cindy George of West Jordan will never forget. That's the day her 21-year-old son Jake Curtis took his own life after becoming a victim to Sextortion.
 
"My son trusted someone online and because of that he's now gone," said George, while wiping away tears from her eyes.
 
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Sextortion is a serious crime that occurs when someone threatens to distribute your private and sensitive material if you don't provide them images of a sexual nature, sexual favors, or money.
 
"It was one picture. It was kind of I'll show you yours you show me mine type thing. And he shouldn't have done it. It was out of character for him, but he did it," George told ABC4 Utah's Brittany Johnson.
 
Although George said she always told Jake he could come to her to talk about anything, he felt too ashamed to tell her or his father about this scam he fell victim to and tried to take matters into his own hands. George said her son went to a local Walmart and wired a total of $680.00 to someone in the Philippines with the name Mariz Abril.
 
"This all happened within five days," George said. 
 
After sending the money, Jake thought this nightmare would go away, but the person behind the scam demanded more, and told Jake he was their personal genie and he was going to grant them three more wishes.
 
"They didn't give him time to think," said George. "They kept sending him the picture over and over again to humiliate him, to hurt him... "He said, well you can't destroy my life if I'm not here.' I can tell in the conversation when he gave up. He said, you're never going to leave me alone are you?' I could just feel when he gave up."
 
Jake's body was found inside a family home in Millard County.
 
George said she had no idea Jake was under all of this pressure until she was able to read the letters he left behind to both her and his father.
 
"He said mom I'm so sorry, please don't think this is anything that you've done. I've messed up.'"
 
"He said his last line to me, 'I'll always love you, you'll always be my mama and I'll always be your baby boy.'"
 
Local authorities told George that there is not much they can do because whoever is behind this scam is overseas.
 
George, who was reluctant to share her story, told ABC4 Utah it was time to let everyone know what happened to her son because she doesn't want this to happen to anyone else.
 
"Everyone needs to know that this evil is out there," said George. "Protect your kids. Hold onto your kids tight and talk to them."
 
If you or someone you know has been a victim of Sextortion call the FBI or local law enforcement. The contact information is below.
 
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, please get help. The contact information is below.
 
To contact the FBI, click here.
 
For help with suicide, click here.
 
For help with mental illness, click here.

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