Family of teen Jordan DeMay, driven to suicide by Instagram sextortion scam, raise the alarm about dangers of social media
The Michigan family of 17-year-old Jordan DeMay is sounding the alarm about sextortion on popular teen social media sites after an Instagram account drove their son to suicide.
The profile – which appeared to be a young woman but was in fact directed by a vicious criminal named Samuel Ogoshi – was used to coerce many boys into sending explicit images of themselves and then blackmail them, according to an indictment.
Jordan DeMay was found dead after he was extorted through the Instagram account. After persuading Jordan to send him sexually explicit material, Samuel Ogoshi demanded $1,000, according to the indictment. Jordan sent $300, to which Ogoshi responded that he would send his nudes to everyone in his life and make them go viral. The boy told the extortionist that he was going to end his life, and Ogoshi replied, “Good. Do that fast. Or I’ll make you do it. I swear to God.”
John DeMay, Jordan’s father, told Fox, “Someone came to his bedroom at 3 in the morning and murdered him through Instagram when we were all sleeping at night, and we had zero chance to stop it.”
His death prompted an investigation by the Marquette County Sheriff’s Department and the FBI. Ogoshi — alongside Samson Ogoshi, and Ezekiel Ejehem Robert, all of Lagos — were arrested in Nigeria and charged with sexually extorting more than 100 young men and teens in the USA. They are awaiting extradition to the US.
“Sextortion is a horrible crime that can leave especially younger victims feeling ashamed with nowhere to turn,” said U.S. Attorney Mark Totten. “Nothing can bring Jordan back, but my office is committed to securing justice and, alongside Jordan’s family, sending an urgent warning so others can protect themselves and their families. We will travel the world to hold the perpetrators of these crimes accountable.”
“Financial sextortion is a global crisis that impacts teens in our country and around the globe,” said James A. Tarasca, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Michigan.
In a statement published by the DOJ, Jordan’s mom said, “Jordan’s smile could light up any room. Jordan’s charm and beautiful smile were contagious, drawing people to him wherever he went and leaving a lasting impression on everyone he met. He wanted to connect and be everyone’s friend and he did just that. As parents, we cannot begin to imagine what Jordan went through that night and how scared he was because of this senseless act. When we were informed that Jordan was potentially a victim of an internet scam called sextortion via Instagram, there was never a hesitation in our minds to share his story. We wanted everyone to be aware about sextortion and have those tough conversations with their families so if it did happen to them they knew to talk to someone.”
We see this type of blackmail and extortion of kids happening most frequently on Instagram.
While in the case of Jordan DeMay it is admirable that law enforcement was able to track these individuals, they are just a drop in the bucket of all the abuse happens through very mainstream multi-billion-dollar platforms including Instagram every day.
The onus needs to be on these social media products including Instagram, which have the most sophisticated technologies and content moderation AI in the world at their fingertips to be able to identify, flag, and stop child sextortion, yet chose not to.
Social media products like Instagram are making money on every eyeball and every click, at the cost of their user’s lives.
As always, we stand ready to support victims and their families. Contact us here.
It is our experience that sextortionists rely on isolating the victim and alienating them from their family. There are many reasons kids are afraid to come forward. Sometimes they feel they themselves have broken the law and will be busted for having created and sent the materials. Other times, they are afraid to tell their parents because they don’t want to be an additional burden to overstressed parents. Offenders often say they will retaliate if the victim goes to the cops and will take it out on the victim’s parents or younger siblings, or even parents’ co-workers.
It’s our job to assure you and your kid that you do have options and you can take back control over the situation.
In one recent case, we immediately mobilized a national network of experts to:
-> Supervise the psychological stability of the child involved
-> Open a federal investigation
-> Launch a legal case against the platform where the abuse occurred
-> Support the family in dealing with the emotional burden
- Resource: 5 steps to take if you’re being blackmailed online
- Blog: What parents need to know about online grooming and sextortion
- C.A. Goldberg, PLLC in the news: Mother Jones – The Internet Is Full of Predators. Omegle Lets You Meet Them
- C.A. Goldberg, PLLC in the news: Washington Post – How to talk to teens about nudes and online safety
- Wall Street Journal: Instagram Connects Vast Pedophile Network
- Blog – AI in the hands of stalkers, abusers, and traffickers: A new frontier in victims’ rights