A 33-year-old man in Fremont was arrested Thursday for videotaping a couple engaging in sexual acts and threatening to blackmail them if they didn't pay him thousands of dollars, according to police.
Maninder Adama was booked into the Fremont Jail on multiple counts related to felony extortion as well as misdemeanor counts related to privacy invasion for his role in the scheme, according to police.
"He sent a screen shot of video to the couple having sex and said 'If you don't pay $5,000 then I will post it online and send it to family members,'" Fremont police Detective Michael Gebhardt said.
The extortion attempt began sometime between mid-March and the end of April while the couple was living in a two-bedroom apartment along the 3500 block of Pennsylvania Avenue, according to police. Multiple people, including Adama, lived in the residence.
In June, the couple started receiving messages from an unknown email address, according to police. The person sending the emails, who has since been identified as Adama, told the couple that he had video footage of them engaging in sexual acts. Adama included screen shots of the video in his emails.
The following month, Adama threatened that he would post the video on Facebook if they didn't cough up $2,000, according to police. That price was later raised to $5,000, and Adama warned that he would share the footage on multiple websites as well as distribute it to family members if the couple didn't comply with his demands.
In July, police said Adama didn’t just want money. They said he had a crude and indecent proposal.
"The suspect changed course and said, 'If you don't have the $5,000, then spend the night with me, and I will return the video to you,'" Gebhardt said.
The couple eventually contacted police, and an investigation was triggered. Investigators were able to track down where the emails were coming from and determine that Adama was responsible.
Officials on Thursday took Adama into custody while conducting a search warrant. His laptops and other electronic devices were also seized. A video of the victims was found on Adama's laptop, and the email account used to contact the couple was discovered on his phone.
Adama appeared in court Monday, but was not formally arraigned.
NBC Bay Area talked to Adama as he left the courthouse and the suspect denied video taping his roommates.
"No I didn't," Adama said when asked if he recorded his roommates. "There's a reason for the camera there."
When asked about the reason, Adama said he needed to talk with his attorney.
Adama is expected to return to court Tuesday to formally face extortion charges.
An investigation is still ongoing at this time. Anyone with information regarding Adama is encouraged to call Detective Gebhardt at 510-790-6954.