|TRENTON – Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced that a Philadelphia man pleaded guilty today to blackmailing a New Jersey man who responded to his Craigslist advertisement soliciting homosexual sex.
Steven J. Beisher, 42, of Philadelphia, pleaded guilty to an accusation charging him with second-degree theft by extortion before Superior Court Judge Jeanne T. Covert in Burlington County. Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Beisher be sentenced to five years in state prison. In pleading guilty, Beisher admitted that he extorted a total of $1,950 from the victim.
An investigation by the New Jersey State Police revealed that Beisher posted a personal ad on Craigslist soliciting homosexual sex. The victim responded to the ad in August 2012 and sent Beisher a naked photo of himself. Beisher found the victim’s telephone number and address and called him the following day, threatening to expose the victim to his wife and family if he did not pay Beisher money. Beisher called repeatedly to demand that the victim meet him at various locations in Philadelphia to make payments. The victim met Beisher seven times over the course of nine days, making payments ranging from $200 to $400. The victim paid Beisher a total of $1,950 before refusing to meet him again and reporting him to the State Police.
Judge Covert scheduled sentencing for Beisher for July 11.
Deputy Attorney General Naju Lathia prosecuted Beisher and took the guilty plea today for the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau. The case was investigated by Detective Sgt. 1st Class Cyril Bleistine and Detective Jose Samol of the New Jersey State Police Cyber Crimes Unit.
Beisher has eight prior felony convictions in Pennsylvania, including five burglary convictions and two convictions for receiving stolen property. Most recently, he was convicted of theft by extortion in Pennsylvania in October 2012.