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Former Coach Used Fake IDs to Trick Women Into Sending Him Semi-Nude Pictures; Here are the Details

Steve Waithe, 30, faces federal accusations of tricking women into sending explicit photos through deceptive social media and email accounts.
Image Source: Photo by RDNE Stock project | Pexels
Image Source: Photo by RDNE Stock project | Pexels

From online abuse to predators lurking around on social media platforms, the safety of women has been jeopardized by various elements on the internet. Now, in a disturbing case exposed by the Department of Justice on Tuesday, a 30-year-old man from Chicago, Steve Waithe, has pled guilty to a slew of charges related to an elaborate scheme.

The perpetrator's plan involved deceiving women across the United States into sending him nude or semi-nude photos through a network of fake social media and email accounts.

According to the Department of Justice, Waithe admitted guilt on 12 counts of wire fraud, one count of cyberstalking, one count of conspiracy to commit computer fraud, and one count of computer fraud, aiding and abetting. This revelation sheds light on an unsettling story where Waithe, who served as a track coach at Northeastern University in Boston, took cell phones from female student-athletes under the pretext of filming them during practice and track meets, but instead, he sent himself explicit photos of the students. 

Image Source: Photo by | Pexels
Image Source: Photo by | Pexels

The criminal complaint, filed in April of 2021, revealed that Waithe had possession of at least one student athlete's phone for an extended period during a track-and-field meet at Harvard University in January 2019.

The alleged scheme unfolded over an extended period, from approximately February 2020 to April 2021. During this time, Waithe was suspected of coaxing both current and former Northeastern student-athletes into sending him compromising photos through a web of dubious social media accounts.

Employing aliases like "anon.4887" and variations of "Privacy Protector," Waithe contacted victims, claiming to have found explicit photos of them online. He offered to assist in removing these photos from the internet, and also invented at least two fictitious female personas, "Katie Janovich" and "Kathryn Svoboda," to solicit nude or semi-nude photos from women under the guise of an "athlete research" or "body development" study.

Image Source: Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas/Pexels
Image Source: Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas/Pexels

Waithe, who was also suspected of cyberstalking, allegedly sent messages via social media and hacked into a Snapchat account from June to October 2020. The criminal complaint showed his internet browsing history, indicating searches on topics like "Can anyone trace my fake Instagram account back to me?" and "How to Hack Someone's Snapchat the Easy Way." His search history also included inquiries on "how to hack Snapchat with a username and phone number."

The seriousness of Waithe's actions is clear from the possible punishments he could get. For every wire fraud count, he could be looking at up to 20 years in prison, and the other charges could each lead to a maximum of five years behind bars.

Image Source: Photo by Sora Shimazaki | Pexels
Image Source: Photo by Sora Shimazaki | Pexels

Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy strongly condemned Waithe's behavior, labeling it as "despicable." Levy emphasized the manipulation, exploitation, and stalking of young women across the country for almost a year. He stressed that justice would prevail, even for those who try to hide behind the anonymity of a keyboard