Model Cindy Crawford is the latest celebrity to be ensnared in an extortion plot, in her case involving her a photo of her eight year-old daughter, Kaia.
A strange photo of Kaia (taken when she was seven) was stolen from a former nanny employed by Crawford by an acquaintance named Edis Kayalar.
The photo depicts her "bound to a chair and gagged," as part of the nanny's "cops and robbers game." The parents were unaware of this "game."
Edis Kayalar subsequently threatened to sell the picture, thus beginning a blackmailing plot. He arrested and deported to his home country of Germany after allegedly trying to bilk money from Cindy and her husband, Rande Gerber.
Creepily, a man who appeared to be Kayalar contacted celebrity gossip site TMZ about six weeks ago trying to sell the photo of the girl. He said he found the photo in the nanny's room and thought she might be abusing the child.
Edis Kayalar said he had taken the photo from the nanny's room and wanted to know if he could get in trouble selling it. The website offered no advice and passed.
When they learned about the plot, Crawford and Gerber called the police, then paid Kayalar $1,000 for what they thought was the original photo.
But Gerber claims Kayalar came back a few days later, claiming he still had a copy and demanded more money. Crawford and her husband went to the FBI. Kayalar has been charged with one count extortion - he faces two years in prison if convicted.
The couple released the following statement:
"A criminal complaint was filed today in federal court stating that Rande Gerber and Cindy Crawford have been the victims of an on-going extortion scheme."
"This crime has been committed by Edis Kayalar, an acquaintance of a former nanny, who threatened to sell a photo of their then-seven-year-old daughter."
"There was no previous awareness by Mr. Gerber and Ms. Crawford of the existence of the photograph when they were contacted by Mr. Kayalar."
"The photo was taken by the former nanny as part of a purported game without the knowledge of the parents. The couple reported the extortion threat to the police and the FBI began a criminal investigation in the matter."
"Rande Gerber and Cindy Crawford intend to continue to pursue any and all available legal action against anyone who aids the perpetrator."
Hopefully Robert Halderman is taking notes.