Alabama man charged with extorting Florida businessman by threatening rape allegation

Published 2:58 pm Thursday, August 27, 2020

An Alabama man extorted $1,200 from a Florida businessman by threatening to lie and tell the man’s family that he had raped a former employee, sheriff’s officials said.

Jason Stewart, 34, of Elberta, Alabama, was arrested Monday on charges of extortion and probation violation, an arrest report said.

The businessman met with a former employee June 4 outside of a restaurant, the Pensacola News Journal reported. The man later told investigators that he was trying to help the woman, who had a drug problem. He said he’d given her money in the past.

An Escambia County Sheriff’s arrest report said the woman arrived at the restaurant with Stewart. The businessman told investigators he had never met Stewart before that night.

She asked for $1,200 and the businessman refused at first, asking her why she had not gone to Alabama for treatment as she was supposed to, the arrest report said.

That’s when Stewart became aggressive, the report said.

Investigators said Stewart told the man that if he didn’t give the woman the money, he would “go see his family and tell them that he raped (the woman) and would also make a report with law enforcement,” the report stated.

The businessman told investigators he gave Stewart and the woman $1,200 out of fear of injury.

The businessman later texted the woman: “Hope you’re happy with yourself stealing and extortion. You know I never raped you! Pretty sad when you lie, cheat and steal from the people who actually tried to care about you.”

The report said the man received a text back from the woman’s phone that read: “Contact her one time and we go to your wife and kids. Then the police. So, if you think I’m playing, call my bluff and text back.”

The businessman contacted the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, and investigation was opened.

The man contacted deputies on June 16 and said he had figured out the identity of the man who extorted him with the help of the former employee and no longer wished to press charges against her.

The report said the ”(The businessman) stated that (the woman) was in a near catatonic state and did not speak during the incident in which he met her and Stewart,” the report stated.

An arrest warrant was written for Stewart’s arrest.