Man Pleads Guilty To $250K Blackmail Scam

Screenshot: Craigslist

One man has pleaded guilty to using Craigslist to pull off a 250 thousand dollar scam.

According to Pride LA, 28-year-old Tyler Buchanan is the man in question. Buchanan pleaded guilty on Wednesday to federal felony charges of using an interstate facility to facilitate an unlawful activity, transmitting threatening communications with intent to extort, and receiving and disposing of proceeds of extortion and criminal forfeiture.

But how did he commit the scam? Over a six year period, Buchanan bought more than 1,300 ads on sites like Craigslist and Backpage. While using the moniker “Thuler O’Naill,” Buchanan offered sex services for hire while targeting gay men in multiple cities and states. After a target would respond to an ad and call a provided number, Buchanan would record their personal information. The two would then engage in sexting.

According to federal prosecutors and the plea deal, which was arranged by his representative Deborah Elise Gonzalez, these sexy conversations often turned into conversations about exchanging money for sexual favors. Buchanan then used evidence of these conversations as blackmail material. He threatened to publicize the texts and report the victims to the police for solicitation of prostitution unless he was paid an amount often ranging from $100 to $4,000 a month.

According to the Santa Monica Mirror, Buchanan is still in federal custody due to being deemed a flight risk. He faces up to 10 years in federal prison depending on the outcome of his sentence hearing set for May 11.

Sources: Pride LA, the Santa Monica Mirror

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