Nicholas Decarlo

Nicholas De Carlo faces 30 criminal charges including harassment and extortion. (Image obtained by CBC)

An Ottawa man alleged to have criminally harassed or extorted more than a dozen women appeared before court by video briefly Tuesday.

Nicholas De Carlo, 29, of Ottawa, faces 30 criminal charges after police received complaints from 13 different women across Orleans.

De Carlo was charged with:

  • 11 counts of criminal harassment.
  • Five counts each of theft under $5,000 and mischief to data.
  • Four counts of possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking.
  • Two counts of extortion.
  • One count each of possession of stolen property, possession of a controlled substance and possession of break and enter tools.

He made a brief appearance by video Tuesday and is scheduled to return to court on Aug. 5.

Police said the accused harassed and in some cases attempted to extort women he communicated with online while using the alias "Scotty Toppers."

After last week's announcement, eight more women came forward, police said.

One woman CBC News spoke with said a man who identified himself as Scotty Toppers repeatedly harassed her and said he had a number of boudoir-style pictures of her which he threatened to publish online.

He then published them in a fake social media page, and now she said she has had difficulty getting them removed from the site.

Police said the alleged victims either didn't know or barely knew the accused.

Carleton Professor Anil Somayagi, an expert in internet security, says online stalking has been enabled because internet users aren't taking basic precautions.

Police say the accused hacked into email accounts, then used personal information he found there for blackmail. Somayagi said many people's emails can be easily penetrated just by claiming to have forgotten a password and then answering a security question.

And a lot of time those questions are not based on very secret information, and if they have access to say your Facebook page, they can probably get enough information to answer a lot of those questions, he said.

Somayagi said people shouldn't use a security question like "What high school did you go to?" or "What's your best friend's name?" and also shouldn't "friend" people who aren't actually friends, because that typically means they can see more of your private information.

Police are asking anyone with information in relation to this investigation to contact them at 613-236-1222 ext. 3566 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.