- Associated Press - Saturday, June 25, 2016

LAS VEGAS (AP) - A Las Vegas man who admits using sex tapes to extort hush money from a prominent businessman is asking a federal judge to spare him prison time, arguing that he’s agreed to keep the victim’s identity secret.

Ernesto Joshua Ramos, 38, faces a recommendation from court officials that he receive 21 months in prison at sentencing Thursday in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas.

Ramos’ attorney, Gabriel Grasso, seeks probation. Grasso filed court documents June 20, calling the case unique “based upon the effort expended by all parties to keep the identity of the victim from becoming public.”

“This effort was chiefly a result of the sordid nature of the facts which, if tied to the victim, would result in further victimization,” the defendant’s attorney said, according to a Las Vegas Review-Journal report (https://bit.ly/28NfdBy ).

An FBI complaint identifies the businessman only as a married Las Vegas-area resident with two minor children who is “part-owner of a well-known business” with access to a company jet.

Over a two-year period, the businessman tipped a stripper, who was Ramos’ girlfriend, roughly $200,000 to dance and have sex with him in a private room at an adult nightclub, according to the criminal complaint in the case.

In October 2014, the woman secretly used her cellphone to videotape herself having sex with the businessman in a hotel room outside the U.S., according to court documents.

Ramos acknowledged in his plea agreement that he later sought $200,000 with threats that included posting photos from the sex tapes on social media.

Ramos was arrested in January 2015, after the businessman paid the money in a meeting secretly recorded by the FBI, according to court documents.

Since his plea agreement, Ramos has been barred from approaching the businessman’s home and workplace. He also had to surrender any remaining sex tapes, two Apple iPhones and a laptop used in the scheme.

The woman wasn’t charged.

Early in the case, U.S. Magistrate Judge William Hoffman signed an unusual protective order at the request of prosecutors that prohibited disclosure of the businessman’s identity and company in any public filings.

In November, prosecutors persuaded U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro to continue withholding the businessman’s name from the public.

Navarro said at the time that keeping the name secret encouraged victims to go to law enforcement.


Information from: Las Vegas Review-Journal, https://www.lvrj.com

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