Acting United States Attorney Charles J. Kovats announced on Wednesday that a federal complaint has been filed against Ki Cheung Yau, a Chinese national living in Los Angeles.
Yau, who is 27 years old, is accused of impersonating, harassing, and cyberstalking a woman who is studying at a college in Minnesota.
According to court documents, Yau’s alleged stalking campaign began back in January 2020 and continued through until the present.
It is alleged that Yau used the victim’s name, photographs, and personally identifying information to create a slew of online accounts. Yau allegedly created these accounts on various websites, including social media sites, online dating platforms, and pornography websites.
As detailed in the complaint, Yau allegedly used these fraudulent accounts to pose as the victim online. It is alleged that while impersonating the victim, Yau communicated with others, seeking out sexual relationships and advertising invitations to engage in violent sexual acts.
According to a statement released Wednesday by the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota, several internet users were apparently taken in by the fake online profiles allegedly created and worked by Yau.
The statement said that “on two separate occasions in January 2021, a man went to the victim’s residence and asked for the victim by name, presumably because he believed he was meeting the victim for a sexual encounter.”
It wasn’t until February 2021 that the victim made the terrifying discovery that multiple fake online profiles had been created using her name and her likeness. Sites on which the fraudulent profiles were hosted included Facebook, Instagram, and other sites focused on dating or sex.
“As a result of Yau’s stalking and harassment, the victim has received numerous contacts from men she does not know and has been forced to move to a new residence and change her phone number,” stated the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota.
Following an investigation by the FBI and St. Paul Police Department, Yau has been charged with one count of cyberstalking.
“Using dating and other explicit sites to threaten, harass, and defame a victim is not new. What is rare is that any enforcement action is ever taken,” John Bambenek, principal threat hunter at Netenrich told Infosecurity Magazine.
He added: “Most victims just end up dealing with the shame, embarrassment, and trauma of dealing with this.”