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.

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."

Joran van der Sloot Gambled With His Alleged Victim

"If they have enough proof that he committed the crime in Peru, maybe, just maybe that might help to get him to confess in Natalee's case. It just might crack him," a Holloway family lawyer, Vinda de Souza, told the Associated Press.

A spokeswoman for Holloway's mother, Beth Twitty, issued a statement saying she "extends her deepest sympathy" to the Flores family "and prays for swift and sure justice."

Holloway's aunt Marcia Twitty said she did not know who had been extorted and paid van der Sloot.

"What breaks everybody's heart is this guy had something to do with Natalee and could have been stopped five years ago," she told ABC

Van der Sloot was grabbed while riding in a taxi near the coastal resort city of Vina Del Mar. Police quickly recognized him despite the fact that his hair had been cut short and dyed red.

Peru's Interior Minister Octavio Salazar Miranda said, "We're confident this young man will pay for his crimes."

New details have emerged about the night that Flores died.

Van der Sloot and Flores, who was an avid gambler, were playing poker in a Lima casino late Saturday night and Flores was winning big, police said.

Investigators said van der Sloot invited Flores to his room at the Miraflores Hotel Tac to celebrate her winnings. A hotel employee later told police that she heard the couple arguing. Hours later, Flores was dead.

ABC News has learned that her body was not discovered, however, for another four days because van der Sloot had prepaid his room for 14 days and instructed the hotel's front desk not to allow anyone into his room, including the cleaning staff.

Flores' father, Ricardo Flores, is a well known politician and former race car driver in Peru. He was burying his daughter at the same time that van der Sloot was being arrested in Chile. He said that his daughter's death had driven stake through the family's heart.

"It's not just about my daughter," he said. "There's a matter pending in Aruba and we don't know how many more remain unpunished."

"I think God used my daughter as an element so that another soul could rest in peace, so that the parents of this girl can rest in peace too, knowing that somewhere in the world justice was made for the killing of their daughter," Flores said.

"This man cannot continue to be out in the world killing people. This man needs to pay for his crimes," he said.

"Joran was able to laugh at the crime he committed in Aruba," the father said. "But in Peru he will not be able to laugh."