Man sentenced for love spell blackmail scheme

SAN DIEGO — An Argentine national who claimed he could help people find love through magic spells, and extorted his clientele by threatening to post explicit recordings of the victims online, was sentenced in San Diego federal court Monday to a two-year prison term.

Ariel Boiteux, 31, of San Juan, Argentina, pleaded guilty last year to an extortion count for his role in Amarres Inmediatos, a company that advertised services that included “casting spells designed to foster romantic relationships,” prosecutors said.

The “spells” involved supposed magic rituals in which clients recorded themselves while performing sexual acts, drinking alcohol, and reciting “sexually explicit incantations.” Boiteux and his associates would then threaten to disseminate the recordings if clients didn’t pay up. Prosecutors said Boiteux demanded more than $250,000 from one woman.

An undercover Homeland Security Investigations agent called the Amarres Inmediatos number in the fall of 2017, and asked to buy recordings of one of the victims, whose recordings had been uploaded to “publicly-available websites in an attempt to extort that victim.”

Prosecutors say Boiteux agreed to sell the recordings for “thousands of dollars,” and was later arrested when he attempted to pick up a money transfer at a Western Union bank in Paraguay.

Boiteux was extradited to the United States last July and pleaded guilty in December.

“This was a despicable scheme that preyed upon people who put their trust in a phony,” U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer said. “This defendant used the vulnerability of the lovelorn to humiliate and extort them, and for that he will pay a price.”

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