(Newsroom America) -- The owner of a Temecula art gallery who stalked, harassed, and attempted to extort as much as $300,000 from art world professionals pleaded guilty today to two federal stalking charges.
Jason White, 43, of Temecula, pleaded guilty today in the cyberstalking case before United States District Judge Stephen V. Wilson.
As a result of today’s guilty pleas, White faces a maximum statutory sentence of 10 years in federal prison when he is sentenced on June 9.
White was arrested by the FBI on February 12 after engaging in a six-month stalking and extortion scheme that targeted art world professionals with whom he had had business relationships.
When those business relationships ended, White posted derogatory information about his former associates on websites he had created and then used threatening e-mails to demand hundreds of thousands of dollars in exchange for taking the websites down.
White repeatedly made extortionate demands through harassing text messages and e-mails, and when his demands were not met, he threatened violence against the victim families.
In one part of the scheme, White targeted his former employer, an art publisher, as well as his supervisor at the art publisher’s company. After creating derogatory websites in the art publisher’s name, White allegedly sent threatening text messages to the art publisher, the publisher’s son, and his former supervisor, according to court documents.
In a text message to his former supervisor, he threatened to find her family and make her pay with “fear, anguish, and pain.” On several occasions, White obtained pictures of her child and sent pictures of the child to the victim with comments, such as, “It will be very unfortunate if something was to happen to him.”
The case against White was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Art Crime Team.