Los Altos police have accused three people of trying to blackmail a Silicon Valley businessman by threatening to publish video of him having sex with an alleged prostitute.
The alleged extortion ring probably had other victims as well. Police searched the home of one of the suspects and found cell phones, cameras and computers with footage of other men visiting prostitutes, said Detective Sergeant John Korges of the Los Altos Police Department.
"How many more victims are out there who don't know they're victims?" he said.
Probably not too many, but just in case, if any readers have recently had sex with a prostitute you met on a social networking site and faced demands to pay a lot of money or have videos of the encounter posted online, you might be a victim.
The alleged scam began when the businessman, whose name is being withheld by police, contacted the prostitute on a social networking web site, police said. They arranged to meet, and had sex in a Palo Alto hotel room.
About a week later, the man received an e-mail containing explicit photos of the encounter and demanding $250,000.
The businessman - who Korges said is in his 50s, married and has children - contacted police. Acting on their suggestion, he arranged a meeting on Thursday with the alleged extortionists at Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve, a location police chose to minimize the number of people nearby. He also haggled with the alleged extortionists, convincing them to lower their demands to $50,000.
Police said they have not located the prostitute.