weather icon Clear
RJ App
Vegas News, Alerts, ePaper

Las Vegas businessman reports extortion after tryst with stripper

A Las Vegas-area man has been indicted in an alleged $200,000 extortion plot against a married businessman who was secretly videotaped having sex with the defendant’s stripper girlfriend during a rendezvous outside the country.

Ernesto Joshua Ramos, who is free on his own recognizance, faces a single felony count of use of a facility of interstate communication to promote extortion during the scheme, which is alleged to have been carried out between November and January.

Because of the nature of the case, authorities have been unusually silent and would not provide routine information about Ramos, such as his age and address.

Neither the wealthy businessman nor the exotic dancer, who has not been charged, are identified in court documents, and a federal judge last week signed an unusual protective order that prohibits disclosure of the victim’s name in any public filings.

Both the government and the defense signed an agreement to withhold the name to protect the “privacy and dignity” of the businessman and his family and to avoid subjecting them to “unnecessary psychological harm and emotional distress.”

An FBI complaint obtained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal describes the victim as a Las Vegas resident with two minor children who is “part-owner of a well-known business.”

The businessman spent time with the dancer in a private room at an unidentified strip club more than 20 times over two years and regularly tipped her as much as $10,000, the complaint says. According to court papers, the woman initiated sex in the room in April 2014.

After that, the businessman had no contact with the stripper until October 2014, when she said she wanted to go on a trip with him, according to the complaint.

The businessman, who was preparing for a company trip overseas, arranged a first-class airline ticket for the dancer, while he traveled separately on a private company jet to the unidentified international location.

The businessman had the woman driven from the airport to his hotel, where they had drinks at the pool and she revealed she and Ramos lived together with a young child. She said she was worried Ramos would find out about the tryst.

Later, after business meetings, the man returned to his hotel room to find the dancer lying naked on the bed. The two had sex that night and again in the morning, according to the complaint. The victim dealt with business much of the next day and saw little of the woman until he came back to the hotel room late in the evening and found her sleeping.

The following morning, the woman flew back to Las Vegas on a commercial airliner and the businessman returned by company jet. He later told FBI agents that he gave the dancer roughly $7,000 for spending money on the trip.

In November, the businessman started getting text messages from someone who accused him of having sex with his girlfriend, the complaint alleges. The sender said the affair had ruined his family life and he wanted to talk about it.

In a Dec. 8 text to the victim, the sender — later identified as Ramos — attached a two-second video clip of the businessman and the dancer having sex. According to the complaint, Ramos later said his girlfriend used her cell phone to record it.

In a Dec. 14 text message Ramos is alleged to have said, “This isn’t gonna go away cause of who you are.” He then threatened to tell the businessman’s wife, according to the complaint.

“I’m sure her stomach will hit the floor as mine did,” the text said.

With the FBI now investigating, in late December the businessman received more texts that included threats to post embarrassing sex photos on Instagram accounts that could be viewed by his family, the complaint alleges.

In a Dec. 26 telephone conversation secretly recorded by the FBI, Ramos told the businessman that his girlfriend “is a freak” who likes to see herself having sex, the complaint alleges. Ramos claimed the woman didn’t know he had found the video.

Following more texts and phone conversations, the two men met at the businessman’s office about 9:30 p.m. on Jan. 7, where the businessman agreed to pay $200,000 for the computer and the dancer’s cell phone.

FBI agents videotaped the meeting. The following day they arrested Ramos as the exchange was to be made. He was indicted by a federal grand jury on Sept. 22 and faces a Nov. 30 trial before Chief U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro.

His lawyer, Gabriel Grasso, did not return phone calls for comment.

Contact Jeff German at jgerman@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-8135. Find him on Twitter: @JGermanRJ.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.