Celebrity News

Tom Cruise Extortionist Found Dead

By:
Sep 30, 2007 | 5:49am EDT

The man who tried to extort $1 million from Tom Cruise and his wife Katie Holmes over stolen wedding photographs has committed suicide in Phoenix.

David Hans Schmidt, 47, was due to be sentenced on Oct. 11 for the crime after pleading guilty in August to transmitting threatening communications with the intent to extort.

But Lt. Anthony Lopez, spokesman for the Phoenix Police Department, revealed on Saturday that Schmidt--who was being held on house arrest until sentencing--was "found dead in his home around 3 p.m. Friday."

Cops visited his house after noticing his ankle-monitoring bracelet had not moved. Schmidt, who has been dubbed the 'Sultan of Sleaze' for peddling sex tapes of Paris Hilton and Colin Farrell, is believed to have taken his own life after suffering from depression.

He faced up to two years in prison, one year of supervised release and a substantial monetary fine when he was due back in federal court.

Cruise married Holmes in November 2006 in an Italian castle in Bracciano, near Rome. The Hollywood couple sold the photo rights exclusively to three celebrity publications.

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