Pedophile’s ‘industrial scale’ blackmail scam targeted 2,000 victims

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June 8, 2021 – A pedophile who exploited and blackmailed almost 2,000 victims globally has admitted 158 charges in what has been described as “industrial-scale” offending.

Abdul Elahi, 26, admitted a host of charges – thought to be among the highest number of offences one individual has ever pleaded guilty to – after a lengthy investigation, the National Crime Agency (NCA) said.

Elahi had previously admitted a majority of the offences, but pleaded guilty to the final tranche of allegations at Birmingham crown court last month and will be sentenced at a later date.

His pleas could only be reported on Monday after reporting restrictions were lifted. The offending included blackmailing victims into sending him humiliating and degrading videos and images of themselves, children and siblings, which he then sold online, the NCA said in a statement released following Elahi’s admissions.

He also provided online classes on the encrypted Telegram app, teaching would-be abusers how to blackmail victims and obtain indecent images.

Elahi, from Sparkhill in Birmingham, operated by pretending to be a stockbroker or rich businessman on “sugar daddy” websites.

He singled out victims who were in debt or too young to legitimately be on the sites, tricking them into sending naked or partially clothed images of themselves. Elahi also targeted some victims on social media.

He promised payment of thousands of pounds for posed images and sent fake screenshots of money leaving his account in similar transactions to convince victims.

The NCA uncovered evidence of at least 196 victims in the UK, and contacts with up to 600 more online. Elahi had also tried to contact 1,367 women in the United States, with victims in 20 other countries including Australia, Canada and New Zealand. The Guardian reports. | READ MORE