BOSTON (AP) — A former college track and field coach accused of setting up sham social media and email accounts in an attempt to trick women into sending him nude or semi-nude photos of themselves has been indicted on 15 counts, federal prosecutors said Thursday.
Steve Waithe, 28, of Chicago, was originally arrested in April and was released with conditions in May. He is scheduled to appear in federal court in Boston on Dec. 9, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Boston.
He was indicted on 12 counts of wire fraud, and one each of cyberstalking, conspiracy to commit computer fraud, and aiding and abetting computer fraud.
Waithe’s federal public defender said via email that she had no comment.
Waithe coached at several colleges, including Northeastern University in Boston, Penn State University, Illinois Institute of Technology, the University of Tennessee, and Concordia University Chicago, federal prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said starting as early as February 2020, Waithe used the sham social media accounts to contact women, saying he had found compromising photos of them online. He would then offer to help the women get the photos removed from the internet, asking them to send additional nude or semi-nude photos that he could purportedly use for “reverse image searches,” prosecutors said.
Investigators identified more than a dozen sham social media accounts allegedly used by Waithe and more than 350 photos sent by more than 49 victims from across the nation, prosecutors said. Six of the women were members of the Northeastern track team, authorities said.
Waithe is also charged with cyberstalking one victim through text messages and direct messages sent via social media, as well as by hacking into her Snapchat account, prosecutors said.
A review of Waithe’s browser history also uncovered searches such as “Can anyone trace my fake Instagram account back to me?” and how to hack Snapchat accounts, prosecutors said.