Joran van der Sloot Accused of $250K Extortion Scam in Natalee Holloway Case

Dutch murder suspect being sent back to Peru today to face murder charges.

ByABC News via logo
June 4, 2010, 8:30 AM

LIMA, Peru June 4, 2010— -- Captured murder suspect Joran van der Sloot was escorted by Chilean police to Peru to face charges there, but the FBI would also like to grill the Dutch national about an alleged scam to extort $250,000 in exchange for information about missing teenager Natalee Holloway.

Van der Sloot, his hair cut short and dyed red, was grabbed by Chile cops Thursday on suspicion that he killed Stephanie Flores Ramirez in Peru last Saturday after they gambled together in a Lima casino.

Van der Sloot told authorities he had met the young woman, but denied killing her.

U.S. officials also revealed that van der Sloot has been charged in an extortion scheme, demanding $250,000 from someone in Mountain Brook, Ala., in exchange for information about what happened to Holloway and the location of her body.

Watch "20/20" tonight for the latest on the Joran van der Sloot story at 10 p.m. ET

The charges don't identify the person who was being extorted, but that is Holloway's hometown.

"He extorted, or attempted to extort someone, an individual, in exchange for the location of Natalee Holloway's remains and information about her death," said Peggy Sanford, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's office in Birmingham.

According to the federal complaint, van der Sloot, 22, had been wired $15,000 on May 10. The money had been sent to a Netherlands bank.

Holloway was 18 when she vanished in 2005 while on a high school trip to Aruba. She was last seen with van der Sloot who has long been the prime suspect in her disappearance, but never been tried for her murder.

U.S. law enforcement, however, may never get to try van der Sloot for the alleged extortion scam. He is scheduled to be flown today from Chile to Peru to face charges in Flores' death. The 21-year-old Peruvian woman was found dead in van der Sloot's blood splattered hotel room.

She is believed to have been killed on May 30, the fifth anniversary of Holloway's disappearance.

Famed criminal defense lawyer Roy Black told ABC's "Good Morning America" that, "The murder case in Peru takes precedence over" the extortion charges, and that the chances of van der Sloot getting extradited to Alabama "are zero."

"He's going to get a very long sentence in Peru," Black said. "By the time he gets out of jail, if he ever does, this would be a footnote in history."

The lawyer said, however, that the Holloway disappearance could be used "as evidence of proof in Peru," and the Holloway family may ask a Peru court "for a longer sentence because of Natalee's murder."