Woman Charged for Role in MultiState Virtual Kidnapping Plot

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WESLACO – An unsealed indictment is revealing more about how a Houston woman and her co-conspirators allegedly committed a multi-state virtual kidnapping plot.

Thirty-four year old Yanette Rodriguez-Acosta was arrested Thursday in Houston. She is facing multiple charges including conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

The charge shows that her and her accomplices, from Mexico, targeted at least 39 people. The victims lived in Texas, California and Idaho.

In two cases, prosecutors said Acosta and the other conspirators told victims their daughters were kidnapped because they had witnessed a crime. If they didn’t pay up, they threatened to cut off their daughters’ fingers.

Parents wound up making money drops in Houston totaling $28,000.

People in the Valley have also been the target of virtual kidnapping plots.

One woman CHANNEL 5 NEWS spoke to managed to record one phone call and played it back for us, “So that’s why I want to give him back. The way I picked him up – alive … You already heard his voice. If you’re not gonna help Eddie out. Hang up the phone. This is the last time I’m gonna tell you.”

The woman said the callers told her they had kidnapped her boyfriend. But her boyfriend turned out to be okay and was not kidnapped or harmed.

The FBI said virtual kidnappers often get their information about individuals through social media.

The best thing to do when someone receives a similar call is to first stay calm, call the police and the loved one they claim to have hostage.


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