Transcript for Claire's Founders Targeted in Alleged Extortion Plot
But right knew to that extortion trial in florida. Police say the founders of the mall jewelry store claire's were the victims of a $3 million extortion scheme and they say the blackmailer is the daughter of their longtime maid. Abc's steve osunsami has the story. How would you want the transaction to occur? Reporter: Their newly released undercover tapes hot off the desk of florida investigators accusing a maid's daughter of blackmailing a wealthy family. I can't bring $3 million cash anywhere. Reporter: They are the victims in this story, the schaefers who founded those claire's jewelry stores in malls across the country, popular with young girls in america. Schaefers' holdings were worth more than $239 million. Reporter: Police arrested camille brown, the daughter of a maid the family fired last SEPTEMBE22nd. Three days later bonnie schaefer, one of the daughters says she got a threatening e-mail from brown who claims she had a treasure trove of family letters written by schaefer's mother detailing their darkest secrets and that she would keep them private for cash. You're here for extortion. Reporter: They immediately called police who set up a sting. Could we do it in installments? That's a possibility. Reporter: An undercover agent wearing a wire says he met with brown twice at a hotel. What do you feel is fair to get the correspondence back. I feel fair market value is fair. Reporter:T'S WHEN POLICE Say she pulls out a card with a dollar figure and hands it to the agent. 3 million? 3 million. They're not going to agree to $3 million. They will. I feel that the family should -- shouldn't even think twice about paying that amount to get this material back. Reporter: In an e-mail brown's lawyer says her offer did not constitute extortion and looks forward to her day in court where she proves they were lawfully given to her. They're suing brown and the housekeeper to get the letters back. As any family that has to deal with betrayal, but, frankly, I think they should be commended. Reporter: The trial is in june and brown is fighting 15 years in prison. For "good morning america," steve owe ssunsaosunsami, abc news. More from dan abrams. Welcome back. Dan, well, those tapes seem pretty incriminating. Are they enough to prove extortion? The prosecutors think they are. To prove extortion you have to have a threat with intent toover come someone's free will, right? And the prosecutors here will say clearly the family didn't want to pay this money. This was against their free will. They were being threatened. That's the definition of ex-torlgs. Now, sounds like the defense here is going to be something along the lines that there was a misunderstanding as to exactly what she meant, that she wasn't threatening, et cetera. So every detail in those tapes is going to become very relevant but I think this is the kind of case that you might see them reach an agreement before this goes to trial. I guess the agreement would be something about turning over the letters once and for all. Remember, she still has all those letters so the family has got to be very concerned. It seems there's something in these letters that the family doesn't want out there. There's -- for some reason this is embarrassing or whatever the case may be. So the fact that she still has those letters gives her leverage. You hear her lawyer still talking about the fact that she still has those letters, so that's going to be a very important question when discussing it. Why didn't she have to turn them over. Her lawyer says she obtained them legally. They're suing to get them back. We'll see how that gets resolved. That's a separate case, a civil action. We're talking about the criminal action of extortion and civil cases tend to take a long time so it may be a while before she gets back those letters if at all and I think that's going to be a crucial point in any plea discussion here where the family may say, we want this to go away and want a deal here. Let's just give her whatever probation, you name it but again that's ultimately a decision made by the prosecutors, not the family. Okay, dan abrams, thanks very much.
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