Teo Brank performs under the name Jarec Wentworth. Image via Twitter
Teo Brank performs under the name Jarec Wentworth. Image via Twitter

A porn actor was found guilty Thursday of shaking down a wealthy telecom executive, forcing him to turn over $500,000 and a car worth nearly $180,000 so details of his paid sexual liaisons with the defendant and other X-rated performers wouldn’t be revealed on social media.

A Los Angeles federal jury deliberated about two hours before finding Teo Brank guilty of extortion and related counts stemming from a $1.5 million blackmail attempt on Florida tycoon and political donor Donald Burns.

Brank — who performs under the name Jarec Wentworth in adult films and on gay porn sites — was arrested in March in an FBI sting after an agent posing as Burns’ associate met with the actor at a Starbucks in El Segundo and handed over title to an Audi R8 and discussed transfer of $1 million.

Weeks earlier, Burns had given Brank $500,000 and the Audi after the male escort and actor threatened to “bring your house down” by posting on Twitter details of the multi-millionaire’s paid sexual encounters, evidence showed.

Burns, who is partial owner of the Internet phone company Magicjack and controls the Donald A. Burns Foundation, testified during the three-day trial that he paid men for sex to avoid emotional entanglements.

Prosecutors said that Brank had a two-year relationship with Burns in which the executive paid him $2,000 per sexual encounter, then asked the actor to introduce him to other male escorts, offering Brank a $2,000 “referral” for each introduction, and more if he joined in.

The defense maintained that Burns “groomed and mentored” Brank, offering to help him launch a modeling career away from porn but then reneged on the promise and broke off their friendship.

At that point, Brank threatened to use Twitter to expose the executive’s predilection for “sex for pay,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Eddie Jauregui told jurors.

Burns “panicked,” Jauregui said, and when Brank demanded $500,000 and the Audi to keep quiet, the businessman complied, transferring the money to Brank’s bank account and delivering the car.

“I’m just going to bite hard,” Brank wrote in a text message that was introduced at trial. “I want a new car, motorcycle and both hands full of cash.”

Jauregui said that two weeks later, Brank upped the ante, ordering Burns to hand over $1 million and the Audi’s certificate of title.

At that point, Burns went to the FBI, and Brank was arrested in the Starbucks sting as the Palm Beach-based executive watched on a live video feed at the FBI’s Westwood offices.

Defense attorney Seema Ahmad, however, told the panel that Brank never threatened Burns’ reputation because the executive made no secret of his private life and there was nothing to expose.

Instead, Brank merely wanted to tell his Twitter followers “what happened to him” at the hands of Burns.

“He wanted what was promised him,” Ahmad said.

The attorney told jurors that Burns paid Brank not because he was worried about his reputation, but because he truly owed Brank the money and car for services rendered.

Burns’ “reputation was never threatened,” Ahmad said, adding that Brank “only asked for the money he deserved.”

Brank, 25, who lived most recently in Sacramento, could face multiple years in federal prison at the Sept. 21 sentencing hearing.

— Wire reports 

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