DETROIT – A Detroit man is accused of hacking into an 18-year-old woman’s Snapchat account to steal nude images and threatening to post them online if she didn’t pay money or send more pictures.
Officials said at least one of the photos from the woman’s account would meet the federal definition of child pornography.
Dangelo Charles Mckenzie Jr., 22 or 23, of Detroit, is named the a criminal complaint, which was unsealed March 8.
Woman’s Snapchat hacked
An 18-year-old Michigan woman called FBI agents on Aug. 23, 2022, to tell them that someone had been accessing her Snapchat account over the past two months.
She said the hacker had reached out to her over text message and Instagram. That person had obtained nude images of her from when she was a child, according to authorities.
On Sept. 2, the woman provided a screenshot of some messages she had received from an Instagram account in July or August.
“Someone is posting your nudes, hun,” the message said. “The page they’re posting in is a hacked Snapchat. I know a girl who can help you.”
The messages included a nude picture of the woman from when she was 17 years old.
The woman also showed FBI agents some screenshots of text messages she had received Aug. 9 from someone threatening to post her photos.
Hacker: “I don’t want to expose you please cooperate.”
Hacker: “Suit yourself i’ll post everything”
Woman: “Cooperate with what you wanting to hack my snap?”
Hacker: “I just want more. If you send them i’ll leave you alone If not i will get or snapchat and Instagram and post them”
Woman: “posting non consensual pornography and child pornography is a felony”
Hacker: “I guess I have a felony then I’ll hack you now”
Hacker: “Smh Y’all always choose the hard way”
Woman: “Who’s this?”
Hacker: “It doesn’t matter i’ll ask one last time will you cooperate yes or no”
On Aug. 23, the woman received text massages from another number, saying, “I don’t want to expose you. If you CashApp or Chime me, I’ll delete everything. If not, I’m taking your Snapchat and posting everything.”
On Sept. 1, the woman received text messages that said, “Look, I don’t want to expose you. I just need to make some money. If you shut up and let me, I’ll stop hacking you. Just give the account back. I’ll give it back when I’m done. Or I can hack you and expose you, your choice. I warned you.”
After the messages on Sept. 1, the woman received a notification from Snapchat that an unknown device had logged into her account with a specific username.
The woman said she had received emails from Snapchat about various devices logging into her accounts, such as a Moto G Power and an iPhone 8 Plus.
Trying to identify hacker
FBI agents traced the Instagram account that had contacted the woman to an IP address owned by Comcast.
Seven days after FBI agents traced the Instagram account, the username was changed, they said. But the chat history still included several conversations between the user and girls or woman in their late teens or early 20s, according to the criminal complaint.
One of the phone numbers that had texted the 18-year-old woman was traced back to a Google email address, FBI officials said. That number had replaced the woman’s as the primary number on her Snapchat account, authorities said.
Snapchat, TikTok hacked
On Nov. 14, the woman told officials that someone had accessed her Snapchat and TikTok accounts with similar usernames. She received several phone calls and a message that said, “If you want me to stop, then CashApp me.”
Officials said the person who took over the woman’s account began to message her contacts and offer them nude images of her for $60. They provided a CashApp username.
The woman received a notification that a Moto G Power device had been used to access her account that day. FBI agents later confirmed that the same IP address was linked to the hacking of her Snapchat and TikTok accounts.
CashApp account linked to Detroit man
A subpoena was served to CashApp’s parent company for information about the account associated with the hacker. On Dec. 7, officials received information that linked the account to Mckenzie, they said.
Google also returned information that linked the email address to Mckenzie, according to authorities.
Comcast provided information that linked the IP address to a home on Hazelwood Street in Detroit, while AT&T led officials to a recording studio on East 8 Mile Road in Warren.
A second phone number that texted the 18-year-old woman was traced back to Mckenzie’s mother’s T-Mobile account, which was registered to the same Detroit address, court records show.
One of the two most frequently called numbers from the phone was Mckenzie’s stepfather, the criminal complaint says.
On March 8, FBI agents searched the home on Hazelwood Street in Detroit. There were three adults and three children there at the time.
One of the adults told the FBI that Mckenzie had recently moved back into the home. That person also said Mckenzie had been spending time at the recording studio in Warren, officials said.
Southfield officer recognizes Mckenzie
During the search, a task force officer from the Southfield Police Department said she recognized Mckenzie, according to authorities.
She provided a police report from a January 2021 case, which involved a 17-year-old girl being logged out of her Snapchat, starting in January 2020.
The girl said she had started receiving messages and phone calls from someone threatening to release her nude images and photos if she didn’t send more.
The hacker told the girl to log into different Snapchat accounts and send nude photos of herself doing specific poses, according to authorities. When she sent them, the hacker demanded additional videos.
When the girl stopped responding, the hacker posted a video of her performing a sex act with a dog, the criminal complaint says. The principal of a high school in Southfield saw the video and reported it to police.
Court records show the girl had told police she suspected the hacker was Mckenzie, her ex-boyfriend. She had given her Apple iCloud login information to him while they dated, officials said.
The girl said others had told her Mckenzie was hacking into their accounts, according to authorities. When she checked the Snapchat IP log, she recognized Mckenzie’s IP address, the criminal complaint says.
Officials viewed message threads from the Southfield case and noticed that those conversations were similar to the ones between the 18-year-old woman and the person who had hacked her accounts.
Court records say the conversations had a “similar pattern of threatening behavior.”
Between those similarities and the links to the CashApp account, the email, the phone numbers, and the IP address, authorities believe Mckenzie is the person who blackmailed the 18-year-old woman.
The criminal complaint concludes there’s probable cause that Mckenzie received and possessed child pornography, sent threatening communications, and stalked the woman online.