PARKER, Colo. (CBS) – Five people were arrested in Parker for suspected involvement in what police describe as a bizarre extortion plot.
Investigators said it all began when a man responded to a Craigslist ad for an in-home massage. Those massages soon turned sexual and then the threats started coming.
“After one of the visits, the suspects contacted the victim and stated that he had sexual contact with a minor. They demanded money in lieu of reporting the incident to law enforcement,” Michael Buoniconti with Parker Police said.
The suspects threatened to turn him in unless he paid. They were able to extort over $250,000 from the victim. Police said their investigation into the extortion ring has been going on for months.
They have now arrested Courtney Payne, Priscilla Payne Harris, Jennifer Payne, and James Payne. They are all related. Brittney Coleman was also taken into custody.
All five face felony charges that include extortion and theft.
“This is a pretty elaborate scheme and scam up to this point. As far as the information we’ve gathered, it was an on-going event for many, many months. With this type of money being exchanged with these types of suspects, we haven’t dealt with something like this here in Parker yet,” Buoniconti said.
Each of the five suspects are being held on a $100,000 bond.
Parker Police are investigating whether there are more victims. As far as the one they know about, it’s unclear whether he will get any of his money back.