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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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June 8, 2024

Blackmail scam surrounds prof’s death

A Louisiana man accused of luring a Texas A&M professor into a sexually explicit online relationship will be arraigned in federal court Tuesday on a charge of using a phone and the Internet for extortion, the Houston Chronicle reported Monday.
The Chronicle reported Daniel Timothy Duplaisir, 37, used an underage female relative to lure James Aune, professor and head of the Department of Communication at Texas A&M, to the online relationship that ended in Aune jumping to his death from atop Northside parking garage Jan. 8.
Duplaisir was indicted last week by a federal grand jury in Houston and is in custody, the Chronicle reported.
According to an FBI affidavit, the relative told authorities that Duplaisir took nude photos and videos of her to use in the scam and kept a list of the names and numbers of the men being extorted.
As part of the scam, she used a fake name and email address to meet men, get their phone numbers and send them pictures and videos. Duplaisir would then call, posing as an outraged father, and demand payment to cover the cost of counseling for his daughter, according to court documents.
The messages between Duplaisir and Aune included threats and obscenities.
“If I do not hear from you I swear to God Almighty that the police in your place of employment, students ALL OVER THE INTERNET … ALL OF THEM will be able to see your conversations, text, pictures you sent,” Duplaisir said in a email to Aune.
The blackmail began when Duplaisir demanded Aune pay $5,000, according to the affidavit.
University spokesman Jason Cook declined comment.

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