2 women accused of extortion in Fairfax sex-for-rent case
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
In these tough economic times, Fairfax County police say it's not unheard of for a tenant to offer a landlord sexual favors in exchange for a month's rent. But when the scheme extends to blackmailing the landlord by threatening to tell his wife, people get arrested.
Fairfax police said that two 20-something women living in an apartment on Beekman Place, just off Route 1 near Fort Belvoir, called the landlord recently and informed him that they were unable to pay the rent. "The suspects suggested they would perform sexual acts in place of the rent," according to an affidavit by Detective Mike Holland filed Tuesday in Fairfax Circuit Court.
"The victim agreed," said Holland, who investigates financial crimes.
So the landlord went over to the apartment, in the Sacramento neighborhood, and was instructed to go into the bedroom and remove his clothing, which he did, Holland wrote.
One woman "then did a slow dance while removing some of her clothing" and jumped on the bed, "straddling the victim." The other woman came into the room and snatched the man's clothes and cellphone, according to Holland. The landlord got up, found his clothes and phone and left.
Next, police allege, the women called the landlord and told him that they had photos and video of the bedroom encounter. "Unless he gave them $500 per week and free rent," Holland wrote, "they would give a copy of the DVD to his wife." The women sent the landlord a photo of himself naked on the bed, according to Holland.
The man went to the police, and last week Holland had him make a call to the tenants. In that call, one of the women boasted to the man that "several recording devices were used to capture the event" and that recordings were "stored on several electronic devices within her residence," Holland wrote.
But the woman made a new offer: If the man gave the women "$11,000 in cash, she would give him the recordings and go away," according to the affidavit.
No deal, the man said.
On Tuesday morning, police raided the apartment, in the 8600 block of Beekman Place, and seized CDs, DVDs, a camcorder, a still camera and some marijuana, court records show. The women were arrested.
Jessica Testin, 23, and Rachel Beloff, 26, were both charged with a felony threat to extort money, which carries a possible prison sentence of as much as 10 years. Officer Bud Walker, a Fairfax police spokesman, said that the women were California residents and that he did not know why they were living in southern Fairfax.
"This is not the only occasion we have seen this," Walker said of the sex-for-rent offer.
However, he added, "I don't know of any other cases where it involved extortion."
The women were being held in the Fairfax jail. Police declined to release their booking photos. The victim was not identified by police to protect his privacy.