Man federally charged for ‘online sextortion scheme’ of teenage girls

A St. Paul man is facing federal charges for an “online sextortion scheme” that targeted hundreds of girls across the country, according to a news release from the Department of Justice. 

Court documents state 31-year-old Yue Vang created and used several different online accounts where he created fake personas to prey on minor girls throughout the United States. He is accused of then coercing them to create explicit images and videos to send to him. 

The investigation has so far identified upwards of 500 girls, but law enforcement is still trying to confirm the identities of other victims. 

Charging documents detail a specific incident where Vang contacted a 15-year-old girl and threatened to distribute sexually explicit images of her to her classmates and parents and “ruin [her] life with these photos” unless she complied with Vang’s demands to send him more sexual content.

This reportedly happened from 2015-2020 through text messages and on multiple social media platforms, including Kik, Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Yubo and Skype, according to the criminal complaint. 

The Department of Justice has victim resources available online for anyone who believes they may have been a victim of these crimes. 

Vang faces two charges of production of child pornography, one count of possession of child pornography and one count of interstate communications with the intent to extort. He was charged via summons on Wednesday and has yet to appear in court.

He faces a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison if convicted. 

The Department of Justice said that this case is part of the nationwide initiative Project Safe Childhood, which launched in May 2006 with the goal of combating the growing epidemic of sexual exploitation and abuse.