2 get jail term in Stevie Wonder extortion plot
A man who had falsely claimed to be Stevie Wonder’s nephew and threatened to sell erroneous information unless the singer paid him $5 million was sentenced Monday to 292 days in jail after pleading no contest to the charge and was released for time served.
A spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office said Alpha Lorenzo Walker, 38, and his girlfriend, Tamara Eileen Diaz, also 38, had been charged with attempted extortion. They were arrested May 2 by Los Angeles Police Department robbery-homicide detectives after Walker made false claims about Wonder and his family and said he would sell the information unless the singer paid him the money. Diaz has also been released on time served.
According to Wonder’s attorney, William Joseph Briggs II, Walker met him at a Century City-area coffee shop and showed him video footage that supposedly depicted conditions at the vacant former home of Wonder’s deceased mother.
Unless he was paid the $5 million, Walker warned that the singer would be “extremely” embarrassed by the tape’s release, Briggs said. During the coffeehouse meeting, Briggs noticed that Diaz was nearby watching.
Briggs said he later told Walker that Wonder was outraged by the demand and Walker then lowered his demand to $500,000, with a confidentiality statement signed by the pair when $10,000 was paid upfront.
In addition to the jail sentence, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge William C. Ryan also ordered Walker to attend twice-weekly mental health counseling while on probation.
Diaz must complete 78 Narcotics Anonymous classes and was placed on three years formal probation.
The pair was also ordered to stay away from Wonder, his family and co-workers while on probation, according to prosecutor Frances Young of the district attorney’s Target Crimes Division.
-- Bob Pool
Photo: Stevie Wonder performs at the White House on May 9. Credit: Kevin Dietsch / Pool