Man jailed for lengthy extortion
An engineer who extorted $77,000 from a man by threatening to expose his homosexual liaisons has been jailed for four years by a judge, who was told the crime was motivated not by greed but by gay hate.
Todd Wilson, 42, who was a respected football coach and family man in the Eaton community where he lived, spent two years terrorising his 70-year-old victim, who was so scared of his potential outing to his wife and family that he continued paying up. Using multiple phone numbers, threats of bikie links and gay slurs in his messages, Wilson demanded tens of thousands of dollars from his victim between 2015 and 2017.
But after another $15,000 demand in August last year, the victim went to the police – who directed him to go through with the money drop at the Eaton Fair shopping centre and then followed the hooded extorter home.
There, they arrested Wilson, who initially claimed he was trying to “clean up” his local area.
The District Court was told this week that claim was “preposterous” and he was merely trying to clean up financially.
“The threats made . . . varied, from threats to embarrass the victim, threats to destroy the victim’s reputation . . . threats to potentially destroy his marriage . . . together with references to . . . outlaw motorcycle gangs,” prosecutor David McCallum said. “These utterances are all hallmarks of this being a gay hate crime.”
Judge Bruce Goetze was told Wilson had engaged in research about the victim in order to use the information as a weapon against him.
One of the messages sent to his victim was read out in court: “I don’t give a f... who I take down or the lives of family I destroy.”
Wilson’s lawyer Genevieve Cleary said he maintained his actions were in part motivated by a desire to clean up the local foreshore, where he believed homosexual sex was occurring.
“It took a while for him to realise that what he was doing was utterly wrong, but also completely shameful,” she said.
Wilson is eligible for parole after two years.