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Porn Blackmail: Bail denied for porn star in alleged scheme

Latest court news.
Latest court news.

Bail was denied Thursday for a porn star who allegedly blackmailed a wealthy Los Angeles man out of $500,000 and a sports car by threatening to expose details of his sexual liaisons.

Teofil Brank — who performs under the name Jarec Wentworth in adult films and on gay porn sites — will remain in custody pending trial on a felony charge of intent to extort by threatening to damage another’s reputation, according to U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael R. Wilner. If convicted, he faces up to two years in federal prison.

In denying a defense motion for bail, Wilner said he had “real doubts of my ability to trust this defendant,” adding that Brank has demonstrated signs of “instability” since his arrest.

Brank, 26, of Sacramento, was arrested March 4 by FBI agents after he allegedly attempted to extract $1 million and a condominium from the victim, who is identified only by the initials D.B., according to documents filed in Los Angeles federal court.

The victim’s name is sealed under a motion for privacy pursuant to the Crime Victims’ Rights Act pending before the federal judge who will hear the case, D.B.’s attorney, Douglas A. Axel, told the court.

Brank allegedly threatened to post sexually explicit photographs and private information about D.B. on social media if he did not provide money, a motorcycle and the title to his Audi R8 luxury sports car.

“I’m just going to bite hard,” Brank texted to the victim, according to an affidavit prepared by an FBI agent who investigated the case. “I want a new car, motorcycle and both hands full of cash.”

The victim complied, transferring $500,000 to Brank the next day, the affidavit states.

Two weeks later, an FBI agent posing as the victim’s friend met with Brank at a Starbucks in El Segundo and handed over title to the Audi and discussed transfer of the $1 million, according to the affidavit.

The agent lured Brank outside by stating the money was in the trunk of his car and, once outside, other agents arrested the performer, the affidavit states. A loaded revolver was found inside Brank’s car, according to the document.

In arguing against bail, Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott D. Tenley said that although Brank’s bank accounts were “frozen,” he still has access to $15,000 of the alleged extortion proceeds, and has shown an interest in traveling to Europe and Panama.

“He does have access to cash and will flee as a result,” the prosecutor told the judge.

Brank, a non-citizen who was brought to the United States as a toddler from Romania, wants to fight the charge in court, not flee the country, defense attorney Seema Ahmad argued.

Wilner said the defendant has exhibited “troubling” behavior since his arrest, including an effort to reach out to his alleged victim in a letter that has been characterized as an apology.

“His approach is bizarre,” the judge said.

Brank apparently wrote in the letter that he has lost 30 pounds during the weeks he’s been held at the downtown Metropolitan Detention Center, a claim the judge said was not evident from the bench.

 

in Crime, News
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