A nurse’s assistant has been arrested at her home in Newark for allegedly cyberstalking reality TV star Kris Jenner and sending threatening messages to Jenner and her family members, including former Olympic decathlon gold medalist Caitlyn Jenner. Christina Elizabeth Bankston, 36, was arrested by FBI agents on Thursday and was scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Oakland today on the 15 counts she faces, which include stalking, computer hacking, extortion by threat and identity theft. U.S. Attorney Eileen Decker, who is based in Los Angeles, said Bankston was arrested pursuant to a 15-count indictment that was returned by a federal grand jury on July 26 and unsealed on Thursday.
Decker said Bankston is charged with stalking her victims over six months from March through September 2014 and her criminal conduct included hacking personal accounts, impersonating her victims, extortion, and swatting, a cybercrime in which a hacker tricks 911 systems into deploying SWAT teams to an unsuspecting victim’s home under false pretenses. Decker said in a statement, “This case illustrates that stalking is a very serious criminal offense. Such conduct can put lives in danger, cause considerable stress and anxiety to victims and consume considerable law enforcement resources to respond to the false emergency calls.”
Most of the stalking and hacking was conducted anonymously while Bankston was in Northern California and consisted of her sending large numbers of text messages and emails, as well as making harassing phone calls, according to the indictment. Decker said Bankston allegedly used a variety of electronic means that caused or were intended to cause substantial emotional distress to the victims and their families. Deirdre Fike, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Office, said Bankston “went to great lengths to stalk and even impersonate her victims to concoct disturbing scenarios that could have put lives in danger.”
Decker said Bankston made multiple phone calls in which she impersonated Kris Jenner, some of which involved false claims that Jenner had cancer and needed help and one in which Bankston falsely told law enforcement that a family member was attempting to commit suicide at Jenner’s residence. Decker said Bankston also sent numerous electronic messages to Jenner in which Bankston claimed to be tracking her and to have put tracking devices on her vehicle, with some messages specifically referencing that Bankston was stalking Jenner and her family. In addition, Decker said Bankston sent harassing and threatening text messages to Caitlyn Jenner, who is Kris Jenner’s ex-husband, and gained unauthorized access to Kris Jenner’s iCloud account, which allowed Bankston to impersonate Kris Jenner in text messages to Caitlyn Jenner and one of Kris Jenner’s children, some of which Bankston later threatened to release publicly.
Decker said Bankston also gained unauthorized access to Kris Jenner’s Instagram account and falsely told law enforcement that someone was going to Kris Jenner’s residence to commit a massacre. Bankston is charged with six counts of stalking, one count for each victim listed in the indictment: Kris Jenner, Caitlyn Jenner, two of Kris Jenner’s assistants and two unnamed Jenner family members. Bankston also is charged with four counts of computer hacking, one count of extortion by threat, targeting one of Kris Jenner’s assistants, and four counts of aggravated identity theft related to the computer hacking offenses. \
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