Amid allegations that he shared sexually explicit video of himself via his state computer, Sen. Bill Kintner appears to have been snagged by a well-documented internet scam.
Since at least 2013, international media outlets and government agencies have warned people against engaging in nude or sexual live video chats with online strangers who could later use them for blackmail.
That description appears to fit Kintner's case, based on interviews with people familiar with the Papillion state senator's situation.
News of his alleged video exchange using a state computer — and that Kintner might be punished as a result — broke Friday.
A source familiar with the case told the Journal Star that Kintner himself told investigators about the video exchange when he reported computer problems to the Nebraska State Patrol in July 2015. The issues occurred while Kintner was using his state laptop in Massachusetts.
Soon after, on Aug. 4, a junior state senator began receiving Facebook messages from an account with a woman's picture, using "broken English" and offering to sell something she said would damage Kintner politically.
"I just ignored it because I thought it was spam," the lawmaker said Saturday.
The person repeated the offer to the junior senator on Aug. 25, this time exchanging several messages and offering to share "a video ... a nakked for Senator Bill Klntner."
The person claimed to have demanded Kintner himself give money to a deaf child in exchange for keeping quiet about the alleged video, but that Kintner had declined, according to the junior senator.
The junior senator reported the issue to the State Patrol in late August. He said he did not see the alleged video and doesn't know if one exists.
Kintner has not returned phone calls from the Journal Star and refused to comment when contacted by The Associated Press. Attorney J.L. Spray, who is representing Kintner, also declined to speak on the matter.
State Patrol investigators turned over the findings of their investigation to the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission in November.
The commission, which investigates ethics complaints against public officials, has a regularly scheduled meeting Aug. 5.
State law allows public officials to use their government-issued computers for limited personal business, but says such use should be kept to a minimum.
People who violate that law commit a misdemeanor and are punishable by up to three months in jail and a $500 fine. The commission may also assess civil penalty of no more than $2,000.
Frank Daley, director of the Accountability and Disclosure Commission, has declined to comment on Kintner's case or even acknowledge the commission is investigating, citing a state law that requires such proceedings to remain secret until a final determination is made.
Yet last week, rumors about the situation began to spread at the state Capitol.
It remains unclear exactly what evidence has been compiled, including whether investigators ever recovered a hard copy of the alleged video.
Scams involving nude webcam videos being used as blackmail date back to at least 2013.
That year, police in Singapore reported online scam artists using women to seduce victims on social media into performing sex acts on camera. The live-streaming videos aren't automatically recorded on either computer, although scammers are able to save them to use as blackmail.
"These suspects would then threaten to circulate compromising photographs and videos of the victims to extort money from them," Singapore police told NBC News.