A San Francisco Bay Area woman was arrested Thursday morning on federal cyberstalking and hacking charges related to harassment and threats aimed at TV personality Kris Jenner, members of Jenner's family and two of Jenner's assistants, according to Justice Department officials.
Christina Elizabeth Bankston, 36, of Newark, California, was arrested at her home by FBI agents, the DOJ said. Her arrest came after a 15-count indictment was returned by a federal grand jury on July 26 and unsealed Thursday. She is scheduled to make her first court appearance Friday in U.S. District Court in Oakland.
Bankston, who is a nurse's assistant, stalked Jenner and her family over a six-month period, according to U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker. The harassment included hacking personal accounts, impersonating her victims, extortion and "swatting," Decker said.
"This case illustrates that stalking is a very serious criminal offense," Decker said. "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 and remotely while Bankston was in the Bay Area, the DOJ said. It consisted of her sending large numbers of text messages and emails, as well as making harassing phone calls, according to the indictment.
Bankston is charged with six counts of stalking, one count for each victim discussed in the indictment: Kris Jenner, Caitlyn Jenner, two of Kris Jenner's assistants and two unnamed Jenner family members. The indictment also charges 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.
Each of the cyberstalking and computer hacking offenses carries a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. The aggravated identity theft charge carries a mandatory two-year consecutive sentence.
Here are just some of the allegations Bankston is facing, according to the indictment:
- Making multiple phone calls in which she impersonated Kris Jenner, some of which involved false claims that Kris 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 Kris Jenner's residence.
- Sending harassing and threatening text messages to Caitlyn Jenner.
- Hacking into the email account of another member of the Jenner family.
- Making internet postings that published telephone numbers for Kris Jenner, two family members and a friend.
- Gaining unauthorized access to Kris Jenner’s Instagram account and publicly posting comments under Kris Jenner's name and likeness.
- Falsely telling law enforcement that someone was going to Kris Jenner's residence to commit a massacre.