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Philadelphia Man Sentenced in Eastern District of Kentucky for Cyberstalking and Wire Fraud

LEXINGTON, KY (Tuesday, December 19, 2023) – The U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Kentucky is reporting that a Philadelphia man, Austin Genay, 30, has been sentenced to 22 months in federal prison, by Chief U.S. District Judge Danny C. Reeves, for cyberstalking and wire fraud.

According to his guilty plea agreement, Genay and the victim initially engaged in a consensual sexual relationship online.  Without the knowledge or permission of the victim, Genay took screenshots and still images of some of their online communications of a sexually explicit nature.  Initially, the victim made voluntary payments to Genay; but thereafter, Genay began making numerous financial demands of the victim.  Specifically, Genay sent messages seeking money from the victim, which threatened to expose the communications and contained promises to delete them to induce the payments.  The victim then paid Genay substantial sums.

When the victim informed Genay that he did not have sufficient funds to continue to pay him and attempted to block his phone number, Genay used threats to expose the intimate information.  During the scheme, Genay fraudulently lied about a variety of things, such as being evicted, having vehicle expenses, and legal fees, to induce the victim to pay him.  Despite the victim’s pleas to stop, Genay sent harassing communications and demands for money that he knew would and did cause substantial emotional distress and pecuniary harm to the victim.  As part of his sentence, Genay was also ordered to pay restitution to the victim, in the amount of $338,602.00.

Under federal law, Genay must serve 85 percent of his prison sentence; and upon his release from prison, he will be under the supervision of the U.S. Probation Office for three years.

Carlton S. Shier, IV, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, and Michael Stansbury, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI, Louisville Field Division, jointly announced the sentence.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI.  The United States was represented by Assistant United States Attorney Tashena A. Fannin.

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