Baited Hook

LA “baiter” gets 5 years in prison for extorting gay men out of at least $150,000

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A court in Los Angeles has sentenced 29-year-old Tyler Buchannan to five years in prison. Buchannan scammed gay and bisexual men in and around Los Angeles by placing “bait” ads offering sexual services, then extorted the men who responded.

NBC reports that Buchannan’s scheme spanned six years and multiple states, though he focused mainly on Southern California. Buchannan took advantage of such websites as Craigslist and Backpage to perpetrate his crimes. Once a victim contacted him by phone, Buchannan would elicit sexual messages that could be potentially embarrassing to his target and/or offering sex for money. With the messages in hand, Buchannan would then threaten to leak the messages to the public, and threaten to accuse his victims of soliciting for prostitution.

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“He tormented numerous victims over many years,” said U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright II of Buchannan. Wright also slapped Buchannan with a $67,567 fine in addition to his prison term.

Buchannan pled guilty to his crimes, telling the court: “I was a damaged and angry person and desperate for money…I broke the law and acted like a person I’m not proud of. I took money from other people and I scared them.”

Law enforcement documented that Blackburn placed at least 1,300 ads on internet sites, extorting his victims for between $100 and $4,000 in a payment. In one case, he managed to wrangle more than $22,000 out of a single victim.