SANTA MONICA—Tyler Buchanan, 28, pleaded guilty to federal felony charges for soliciting gay sex services on Craigslist and other websites on Wednesday, January 8. Buchanan extorted hundreds of thousands of dollars from victims in Santa Monica and Los Angeles after he threatened to expose them for “engaging in prostitution solicitation.”
Charges included using an interstate facility to facilitate unlawful activities, transmitting threatening communications with intent to extort, and receiving, then disposing of proceeds of extortion and criminal forfeiture. According to The Santa Monica Mirror, Buchanan has been deemed a flight risk and remains in federal custody.
He purchased over 1,300 ad spaces during a six year period on services offering websites that include Craigslist and Backpage under the alias “Thuler O’Naill.” Buchanan offered sex services for hire targeting gay men in multiple cities and states across the United States.
He initiated extortion by gathering personal information on victims after they responded to his ads via his listed phone number. According to his plea agreement, Buchanan would engage in sexual texting conversations with victims that included agreements to partake in sex for money with individuals who responded to his ads.
Buchanan threatened victims by alleging he would publicize their messages and report the victim to the authorities for solicitation of prostitution unless his extortion fee was paid. Extortion fees ranged from $100 to $4,000 per month.
Buchanan faces up to 10 years in federal prison at his sentencing hearing on May 11, 2020. He is represented by Los Angeles County Public Defender, Deborah Elise Gonzalez.
Canyon News reached out to Gonzalez and is awaiting a response regarding details about the case.