Argentinian mastermind of 'witchcraft extortion scheme' sentenced to 2 years in federal prison
The Argentinian mastermind of an alleged international "witchcraft extortion scheme", who had targeted hundreds of people looking for love, was sentenced to two years in federal prison on May 6. The Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California said in a news release that 31-year-old Ariel Boiteux had offered to help singles find love using "magic spells" that he had advertised on Facebook and Instagram.
When all the hopeful singles had contacted Ammares Inmediatos, Boiteux’s company, they were told that they had to record themselves performing sexually explicit rituals. Boiteux then threatened his customers saying he would post the videos on social media unless they paid him "large sums of money", NBC News reported.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Boiteux had targeted around 200 people in countries that include the United States, Switzerland, Mexico, and Spain. There were three other people who were arrested in the scheme, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune, and this included Boiteux's 15-year-old brother.
Authorities said that in one of the cases, Boiteux had demanded $250,000 from a "well-connected public figure with access to significant financial resources". He was arrested in Paraguay after an undercover agent with the Department of Homeland Security offered to buy some of the recordings of another victim which had been posted online on a public website.
Boiteux was subsequently extradited to San Diego in July last year where he was charged with foreign transmission of an extortionate threat. He pleaded guilty to that charge in December last year.