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Texas A&M Professor James Arnt Aune Kills Himself Over Catfish Scam and Blackmail
Professor James Arnt Aune, 59, allegedly shared sexually explicit pictures of himself with someone online he believed to be a female minor. However, the instigator of the catfish scheme was actually a relative of the girl, who then attempted to blackmail Aune for $5,000.
Aune, Head of the Communication Department at Texas A&M, leapt to his death from a campus parking garage on Jan. 8. Aune sent a text message to his tormentor minutes before his death writing, "Killing myself now. And u will be prosecuted for blackmail."
The alleged blackmailer, 37-year-old Louisiana man Daniel Timothy Duplaisir, is due to be arraigned in federal court Tuesday on charges of using a phone and the internet to extort money from Aune.
According to police, Duplaisir took naked pictures and videos of a young relative and then created a page of the social-networking site MocoSpace.com. He assumed a fake name and created the email address pretty-gurl985 at yahoo.com to target several men. He would send them graphic content, and then call his targts claiming to be the girl’s outraged father.
Duplaisir allegedly threatened to go to authorities and call Aune’s employers if he didn’t deliver the money. Aune gave him $1,000 and promised to send more money, according to court documents. An FBI affidavit shows Aune told his wife he was being blackmailed in mid-December.
On the morning of his suicide, Aune was allegedly contacted by Duplaisir at 9:21 a.m.. He gave the professor three hours to come up with an unknown sum of money or else “the calls start.”
Charged with aggravated incest and oral sexual battery in 2011 for abusing the same female used in the catfish scam, Duplaisir was indicted last week.