MCCRACKEN COUNTY, KY (KFVS) - Two McCracken County, Kentucky residents have been arrested for their alleged involvement in an online blackmail scheme that authorities say led to the victim's suicide.
According to the McCracken County Sheriff's Department, an ad promoting and soliciting prostitution was placed on the website, backpage.com with a photography of a woman insinuating that the woman was the one promoting the prostitution.
Officers say an area man answered the ad and inquired a price for her services. A price was given to the man, but he changed his mind and declined her services.
The poster of the ad then told the man that if he didn't pay money that he would be exposed publicly and to his family.
The man sent over a period of a week sent seven payments of money totaling more than $2,000. Deputies say the poster again requested more money and threatening to come to the man's home if he didn't.
They say the victim was very distraught and then confided to his family about the situation.
According to the sheriff's department, the man then committed suicide.
Through investigation, sheriff's investigators found out the poster of the online ad was a McCracken County man.
They learned that the post was a hoax and only was posted to try to get responses and extort money from men by threatening them.
On Tuesday, Sept. 12, detectives found the two suspects in the scheme.
The suspects were identified as 22-year-old Bryant D. Shaw and 23-year-old Taylor R. Howard.
In interviews with detectives, they say Shaw admitted to placing the ad on the website to give the appearance that it was promoting prostitution.
They say Shaw admitted that his only intention in posting the ad was to lure responses and then blackmail them for money.
He also allegedly admitted to having received more than $2,000 from the man who had taken his own life.
Howard allegedly helped in the scheme by collecting money from the victim.
Both were arrested for theft by extortion and are lodged in the McCracken County Regional Jail.