BIRMINGHAM, AL - Wednesday, a federal grand jury indicted Joran van der Sloot on charges of wire fraud and extortion for soliciting money from Natalee Holloway's mother on promises he would reveal the location of her daughter's remains in Aruba and the circumstances of her 2005 death.
U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and FBI Special Agent in Charge Patrick Maley announced the indictment on Wednesday.
"I want to applaud the FBI's work on this case," Vance said. "The FBI worked diligently, and in association with Aruban authorities, to investigate and gather evidence in this matter after learning that Beth Holloway had been contacted and told she could finally gain information about the death of her daughter if she would pay $250,000," Vance said. "Because of the agents' dedicated efforts, we are able to bring charges against someone who sought profit in a mother's grief."
Natalee Holloway, a resident of Mountain Brook, Ala., was last seen alive on May 30, 2005, while in the country of Aruba. The 18-year-old was in the company of van der Sloot the day she disappeared.
The two-count indictment filed in U.S. District Court charges van der Sloot with extortion for exploiting Beth Holloway's fear that she would never find her daughter's body or know what happened to her unless she paid him $250,000.
The indictment also charges van der Sloot with wire fraud for using false promises that he would reveal the location of Natalee Holloway's body in order to induce Beth Holloway to make wire transfers of money.
According to the indictment, van der Sloot caused Beth Holloway to wire $15,000 from her bank in Birmingham to his account at a bank in the Netherlands. The indictment also charges that he caused her to wire $10,000 to lawyer John Q. Kelly in New York so that Kelly could later carry that money to Aruba and deliver it to van der Sloot in person. The indictment identifies Kelly as an advisor and legal representative of Beth Holloway who served as her intermediary with van der Sloot.
The indictment describes how van der Sloot's scheme to defraud Natalee Holloway's mother proceeded as follows:
After van der Sloot initially contacted Kelly and said he would reveal the location of Natalee Holloway's remains for $250,000, he later agreed to lead Kelly to the site of her remains for $25,000. Once identification of the remains was confirmed, Beth Holloway was to pay the remaining $225,000 to van der Sloot.
Van der Sloot received the $25,000 from Beth Holloway and led Kelly to a specific site in Aruba. He identified the site as the location where Natalee Holloway's remains were buried, although he knew that information was false.
Van der Sloot kept the $25,000, but later confirmed by e-mail that the information he had provided was "worthless."
The indictment seeks forfeiture of $25,100 from van der Sloot. That amount includes $100 Beth Holloway initially wired to the Netherlands bank to confirm van der Sloot's account.