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Arrest made in alleged sextortion of UGA student

Updated: Sep 18, 2023


By Joe Johnson

An arrest was made this week in connection with an alleged sextortion of a University of Georgia student.

An investigation was initiated by the UGA police department in May, when an 18-year-old male student reported that he had paid someone who threatened to make public explicit photographs of the student.

According to a police report, the suspect “incessantly” sent the student text messages “for the sole purpose of harassing him,” and that the then unknown person “threatened him numerous times by threatening to release (the student’s) explicit photographs if he did not send them a certain amount of money.”

The student reportedly told police that he used a financial transection cellphone application to send the extortionist $450, and that everything occurred while he was on UGA property, as a resident of Busbee Hall.

The investigation identified as a suspect 18-year-old Preston Cordell Cobbins of Madison, Miss., police said, and on May 15 warrants were issued that charged him with theft by extortion, harassing communications, identity fraud. Cobbins was subsequently contacted by police who informed him of the criminal charges and provided him with contact information for surrendering himself at the county jail.

After receiving notification from the police, Cobbins reportedly contacted the UGA student and threatened to damage his reputation if , he did not drop the charges. When police learned about that threat, they obtained additional warrants that charged Cobbins with influencing a witness and a second count of harassing communications.

Police said they notified Cobbins about the new warrants on May 17, and the jail’s website indicates that he surrendered on Monday and was released Wednesday, upon posting bonds totaling $37,650.

University officials would not say how Cobbins was identified as a suspect, and reports do not indicate why he targeted the student who, like the suspect is from Mississippi and where, according to his LinkedIn profile, Cobbins owns a photography studio.

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