NEWS

Winnipegger charged with extortion

12/22/2011 05:25 EST | Updated 02/21/2012 05:12 EST

A Winnipeg man has been charged with extortion after he allegedly tried to blackmail two women from England out of thousands of dollars using a popular dating website.

Winnipeg police say between Sept. 5 and 12, the 32-year-old man — using an alias — connected with a 28-year-old and a 36-year-old woman through Plenty of Fish, an online dating service.

The man gained their trust and convinced both women to share sexual videos with him, police said.

He then threatened to distribute the videos online, specifically to family and friends of the women, if they did not pay him $5,000 each.

"Clearly his only motive was to try and make some — in his mind — some fast money in a bizarre and concerning way," Const. Jason Michalyshen said Thursday.

The women contacted their local police service and Interpol, the international police agency, which then contacted police in Winnipeg.

The man was arrested on Thursday and charged with two counts of extortion. The videos were seized from his home.

He has been released from custody on a promise to appear in court.

Michalyshen said the case should serve as a reminder to others about what they share online.

"Your situation can be altered negatively in a significant and profound way if, you know, you let your guard down," he said.

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