According to a US District Court criminal complaint, 36 year old Keifer Bonvillain targeted a person identified only as ``a public figure and the owner of a Chicago-based company.''
The Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times, citing unnamed sources, reported today that Bonvillain's target was Winfrey.
Bonvillain was arrested December 15th in the parking lot of an Atlanta hotel and released on $20,000 dollars bail.
He was scheduled for a preliminary hearing in Chicago on Monday.
Bonvillain told the Sun-Times the charges were a misunderstanding.
According to the complaint, Bonvillain met a California-based employee of the Chicago company at a party more than two years ago, then recorded conversations with the employee about the owner and her business.
In mid-October he sent the owner an e-mail, telling her an employee said awful things about her, the complaint states.
A month later, Bonvillain sent a letter saying he had tapes of the conversations, an FBI agent alleges in the complaint. In response, another associate of the company called Bonvillain and learned he had taped 12 hours of those discussions.
The complaint says over the next few weeks, Bonvillain told the associate he wanted to publish a book based on the tapes and claimed he had received offers of $500,000 to $3,000,000 dollars.
The associate, who was working with the F-B-I, agreed to a 1.5 million dollar price, wired Bonvillain $300,000 dollars in earnest money and arranged to meet him in the parking lot.
He was arrested the next day.