Town of Palm Beach News

Porn Actor Found Guilty of Extorting Palm Beacher

Last Thursday, a porn actor was found guilty of extortion and intent to extort $1.5 million from a Town of Palm Beach business mogul, Donald Burns. The criminal trial began last Tuesday and ended two days later in the afternoon. Teofil Brank, the defendant, now faces six federal charges. According to The Sacramento Bee Brank used the stage name Jarec Wentworth. Brank was extremely nervous when the trial ended and the jury left the room; he was sweating profusely and covering his face. Soon after, U.S. Marshals handcuffed the actor and took him away as his defense attorney, Seema Ahmad, cried.

Brank was arrested after the FBI coordinated a sting at a Starbucks close to LAX Airport. Government reports show that Brank had already allegedly persuaded Burns into giving him $1 million, and was now requesting the businessman’s Audi R8 sports car, a motorcycle, and half a million dollars wired into a Wells Fargo account. An affidavit prepared by an FBI agent on the case contains records of exchanges between the two. In a text message to the multimillionaire, Brank said, “I’m just going to bite hard. I want a new car, motorcycle and both hands full of cash.” When Brank arrived to the coffee shop, he thought he was meeting Burns’ friend to get the car, but he found authorities waiting to take him into custody instead. When police searched Brank’s car, they found a loaded revolver inside.

During the two-day trial, 14 jury members listened to the dramatic and somewhat salacious case. The blackmail Brank was using included sexually elicit photos, presumably of Burns. Brank threatened that he would post said photos to Twitter and ruin the businessman’s reputation. The two men had most of their exchanges through text messages and on Twitter. Records show that Brank would make comments about Burns on the social media site, and then continue conversation on private messages.

Burns is the chairman of Magicjack  an online phone company. He was also the co-founder of Telco Communications Group and leader of the Donald A. Burns Foundation. During Wednesday’s testimony, Burns stated that he would pay men up to $2,500 for sexual encounters and was aware that it was prostitution. Burns continued, even though he knew that he was not granted immunity from criminal prosecution, Burns explained to the the prosecutor, Kimberley Jaimez, and to the court that prostitution “was a way to have sexual contact without commitment.” He also stated that he had the means to do so. Another adult film star, Justin Griggs, was called to the stand to testify. He stated that he was paid to fly to Burns’ homes in Nantucket and Palm Beach several times. “It was really just hanging out, surfing, grilling out, going to dinner, and then we would have sex, group sex,” Griggs said.

Brank was charged with transmitting threatening communications, extortion by non-violent threat, receiving proceeds of extortion (two counts), attempted extortion by non-violent threat, and use of an interstate facility to facilitate unlawful activity. Just a Porn Actor found guilty.

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Phoebe

Phoebe

Phoebe has written for online magazines run by some of the biggest regional newspapers, college newspapers, and for various companies. She is most interested in local politics, music, and the 'foodie' scene of Palm Beach.

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