A Bay Area man who tried to extort $40,000 from a married father who’d been seeking sex with cross-dressing men pleaded no contest in the case this week.
Emmanuel Darabi, who’s 28 and lived in Foster City at the time the case started, entered his plea Wednesday, April 30 in San Mateo Count Superior Court, according to San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.
The victim is a married father and business owner who lives in Belmont. The two men never met, Wagstaffe said in a summary of the case.
The case started in January when the victim’s daughter found an envelope on her car, which was parked outside the victim’s home, Wagstaffe said in a summary.
“The envelope contained a Craigslist ad of the victim seeking cross-dressing men for sex,” said Wagstaffe. There was also “a note demanding [the] victim drop off $40,000″ in San Mateo’s Central Park or “his secret life would be exposed.”
The victim acknowledged to his family and police that he’d had “a secret sex life,” but he said that had never included underage males, according to Wagstaffe.
Police placed hidden cameras at the park and saw Darabi there. After the victim didn’t show up, Darabi “sent him an angry email,” said Wagstaffe.
When the victim told Darabi that he was demanding too much money, he agreed to settle for $15,000, and another drop-off was planned at a post office.
An undercover detective who posed as the victim dropped off a bag in the bushes near the post office, and Darabi picked up the bag, said Wagstaffe.
After police confronted and arrested Darabi, they found papers in his car that had the victim’s address, phone number, and email, according to the DA.
Darabi, who’s out of custody on a $25,000 bail bond, was originally charged with two counts of extortion and one count of resisting arrest.
Wednesday, Superior Court Judge Clifford Cretan granted the district attorney’s motion to add a count of felony attempted extortion, to which Darabi pleaded no contest.
In exchange, Darabi will get to stay out of prison, and he’s expected to serve a maximum of six months in county jail, said Wagstaffe. It’s likely that the other three charges are being dismissed. A plea of no contest is similar to a guilty plea.
The next court date is June 27 for the pre-sentence report and imposition of sentence.
Someone who answered the phone at a number listed for Darabi said he wasn’t available, and the person wouldn’t take a message. An online phone directory indicates Darabi currently lives in the East Bay town of Moraga.
Attorney Majeed Samara, who’s representing Darabi, declined to comment on the case, since it’s pending, and hung up on a reporter.
The prosecutor in the case is Deputy District Attorney Shin-Mee Chang.