3 busted in Loudoun Co. messaging app extortion scheme

WASHINGTON — Three people have been arrested in connection with a mobile phone messaging extortion scam, police in Loudoun County, Virginia, said.

Yogesh K. Sharma, 56, of Sterling, Virginia, and two teenagers have been charged.

Police said the three pretended to be a female on the Kik messaging app and demanded money from their victim, a 25-year-old man from Lansdowne. The messages began in January and, at one point, the victim was told he had solicited a prostitute and needed to deliver money to avoid being arrested himself.

The Lansdowne victim paid the suspects on multiple occasions and at multiple locations — including the suspects’ Sterling home.

He contacted authorities in February.

Loudoun County Sheriff Officers searched the suspects’ home and a Herndon storage facility Feb. 14.

All three were arrested that night.

The teens were taken to the Loudoun County Juvenile Detention Center and charged with extortion.

Sharma was charged with felony conspiracy to commit extortion. He’s being held without bond.

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Writer/Editor for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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