Lee Correctional Institution. Photo: AP/Sean Rayford

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Months after a U.S. Army veteran killed himself in his Greenville apartment, police officers have charged several inmates involved in a so-called "sextortion" scheme that investigators say may have driven him to the brink.

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Then-Pfc. Jared Johns sends holiday greetings from Afghanistan in 2013. (DoD/Joint Hometown News Service)

The parents of an Army veteran who committed suicide in September 2018 believe he took his life immediately after he was targeted by inmates in a South Carolina prison as part of a sprawling sextortion ring, The Greenville News reports.

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South Carolina inmates managed to blackmail 442 U.S. service members from across the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines out of more than $560,000 as part of a sprawling sextortion ring, Naval Criminal Investigative Service officials announced on Wednesday.

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South Carolina inmates are reportedly using a dating app and the threat of an underage porn charge to catfish and blackmail Army soldiers, leading to a multi-year Army investigation dubbed 'Operation Surprise Party.'

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Photo via Pixabay

Picture this: You are a 20-year-old enlistee. After a long day, you log into Facebook to read a few news stories, watch a YouTube video or two, check what’s going on with your family at home, but instead you find a message request waiting for you.

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