FIU Student Goes to Prison for Trying to Extort Ex-Porn Star on Social Media

Facebook friend requests from strangers almost always turn out to be bad news. In the best-case scenario, some weird guy from Turkmenistan insults your sister's prom photos. In the worst-case: Someone creates a fake account, discovers hidden info about your past, and then threatens to release that information or kill you if you don't pony up thousands of dollars.

That's exactly what a former FIU student did to an anonymous California college student who had a secret past as a porn star. Now, the FIU student is headed to prison after trying to use that info to extort tens of thousands of dollars. 

In June 2015, federal authorities say the California student, listed only as "S.B." in court records, received a strange friend request from a former U.S. Marine named "Giovani." But when S.B. accepted Giovani's friend request, things turned ugly: "Giovani" was actually a 23-year-old Florida International University criminal-justice student named Kassandra Cruz, who'd discovered that S.B. had secretly dabbled in porn years ago.

Cruz immediately began to threaten her: She'd expose that secret to S.B.'s family and employer, she promised — and even threatened to kill her — unless S.B. coughed up $100,000.

But rather than getting money, the FBI intervened, and Cruz has instead only earned some prison time. On June 24, Cruz pleaded guilty to cyberstalking charges. Yesterday, she was sentenced to 22 months in prison.

According to an April criminal complaint, FBI agent Louis Gregory Bronstein said that "Giovani" started "liking" each and every one of S.B.'s Facebook posts, and also began following her on Instagram using the handle "Caligeneral86." Rightfully weirded out, S.B. blocked Giovani.

But Giovani then started aggressively messaging S.B.'s friends, demanding she get back in touch with him. Giovani threatened that she would "face repercussions at her job and with her family if they didn't comply," the FBI wrote.

On October 2, 2015, Giovani sent one of S.B.'s friends the following:

Sounds like I haven't been forgiven by her. So I'm done being nice.. Going back to how I was before. What's the final answer??? Before I do the unthinkable. How are y'all nasty hoes doing? Been thinking [of] passing by magnolia towers to confront her boss about it. It's unethical to have a disgusting 'social worker' working there.

Somehow, "Giovani" then got hold of S.B.'s personal cell phone number and called her. The FBI claims "Giovani" said he'd been doing some research into S.B.'s past, and had discovered that she'd previously worked in porn. After the call ended, Giovani texted S.B.:

Skank. Hoe.. You dumb bitch. Spreading your legs for college money lol... Start making porn flix. So u can pay me that money lol.
The FBI, however, was able to trace "Giovani's" cell phone back to Kassandra Cruz.

After Cruz "called S.B.'s parents house and threatened to tell them about her past in the porn industry," S.B. created a personal gmail account just to deal with Cruz's threats. On October 30, 2015, Cruz emailed S.B. and demanded that she fork over $100,000 to stop the harassment.

Cruz added that she S.B.'s family "should watch their backs because someone would be heading to California from Florida to deal with them."

Cruz then started blasting S.B.'s phone with text messages. According to the FBI, Cruz sent this text on Oct. 31:

Better have my money bitch. Where's my money hoe!! Your gonna die bitch. I want my money by Tuesday. I want u to come to Miami and give me the money. If u don't. You already know. Are u really going to give me the money for real!??? I decided that I want the money. And I won't bother u anymore. If u can't with $100,000 then I lower it to 75,000. Well... Am I going to get it??? I want my money... I want to move on with my life already so u better have it ok. Time is ticking. Better have my money. I know u live in Van Nuys... Don't think u can hide. I got people in Sherman Oaks as well. Better have my money bitch.......Where's my money hoe!! Your gonna die bitch.
Later that same day, the FBI says she sent this:

I'm done being nice. Now your going to get what coming to u. I will get u unexpectedly...Watch..I'll let u rest in peace.
On Nov. 1, she then told S.B. she'd found her address and pictures of her apartment:

I got ur home address. Nice apartment. I will not stop!! So Answer me now. You nasty fuckin bitch. Everybody is going to about u. My people will know about u.
The next day, she then sent yet another barrage of threatening messages:

Time is ticking. Better have my money. You think u by not answer is going to solve anything?? All u doing is making things worse. Lmao I crack up every time I catch u. I'm not on this alone, just so u know. I got people every people thanks to ur friends.
Finally, after getting fed up, Cruz said her "cousin will deal with u," and said he was heading to find S.B. in California. Among many other text messages (S.B. says she received more than 900 calls and texts from Cruz since January), Cruz said Nov. 4 she would "will rip your insides out. Like a dirty fuckin pig. I'm on to u. Don't let your guard down slut." Cruz also said she'd found out where S.B.'s parents lived, and posted photos of S.B.'s previous house online.

But the FBI had virtually no problem tracking Cruz down before anything violent happened. The bureau says it was able to trace the posts back to Cruz herself — S.B. also received two typed contracts stating that, if S.B. sent the money, Cruz would promise to leave S.B. alone. Since hard copies of the contracts were sent via the U.S. Postal Service, the FBI went back and watched surveillance tapes at the post office where the letter originated.

Lo and behold, the FBI says it caught Cruz mailing the second letter herself.

According to a separate document, the FBI says it recorded Cruz speaking with S.B. via FaceTime on April 7, as Cruz wore a "pink baseball cap with an insignia on it." S.B. then let the FBI wiretap her cell phone. The pair agreed to meet in Miami on April 24 — but instead of exchanging money, the FBI swooped in and arrested Cruz in her car. Authorities say she was caught with a laptop "containing evidence of Cruz's search history into S.B." a receipt from the post office where Cruz sent the letters, and other piece of evidence linking her to the crime.

Cruz was charged with cyberstalking, extortion, and using interstate communications to threaten to extort. She pleaded guilty to one county of cyberstalking on June 24.

Before her sentencing yesterday, one of Cruz's professors, Alfredo Izaguirre, wrote to Judge Federica A. Moreno, asking him to be "as lenient as possible" on Cruz.

"Once I was informed of this case I honestly could not believe her conduct," he wrote, adding: "The conduct in this case seems to be something completely out of character based on what I have seen from her as a student."

Izaguirre had been teaching a class called "Criminal Trials."