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Oprah the Victim of $1.5 Million Blackmail Scheme

1/6/2007 10:17 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Oprah WinfreyOprah Winfrey was the target of an extortion plot by an Atlanta man who claimed to have damaging audio tapes he would release if he wasn't paid off, federal court charges allege.

The man, Keifer Bonvillain, is accused of illegally recording phone conversations he had with a Winfrey employee about her and her business. According to the charges, he then asked for $1.5 million from a second person, described as a Winfrey "business associate," to destroy the tapes and his notes.

The charges go on to say that Bonvillain threatened to sell the information to the tabloids or write a book about them.

Winfrey is not identified in the complaint, but instead the documents refer to an "Individual A," who is "a public figure and the owner of a Chicago-based company." The Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune on Saturday identified "Individual A" as Winfrey, whose Harpo Studios is based in Chicago.

Bonvillain's attorney, Kent Carlson, told the Tribune and Sun-Times he could neither confirm nor deny details in the complaint.

43 COMMENTS

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1.

Azaziah    

I would like to bang Oprah. Is it just me or does her skin look lighter than it did 20 years ago.

2817 days ago
2.

esmerald    

i think oprah sucks

2817 days ago
3.

my opinion    

Oprah is the ULTIMATE class act in the way she runs her life. Many more in the entertainment industry could learn from her.

2817 days ago
4.

geo    

WAS OPRAH BORN A POOR WHITE CHILD?

2817 days ago
5.

meg    

"The man, Keifer Bonvillain, is accused of illegally recording phone conversations he had WIN a Winfrey employee about her and her business."

good editing tmz.

2817 days ago
6.

Jennifer    

Several of her staff members at Harpo Studios were fired because of this. It was ugly because the said staff members really had no clue what was going on. When they were fired, they were just told the broke their confidentiality clause.

Poor Oprah - sucks to be rich.

2817 days ago
7.

stan    

We all have stuff we wouldn't want public. I even think OPRAH has bad days and she says things she regrets ... even if it was said on the phone!

2817 days ago
8.

He's Boring now    

Maybe this guy was working for Kitty Kelley who has announced she will be doing an unauthorized expose on Miss Oprah. And to which those closest to O will not participate.

I cant wait...the dirt this woman can find like she did on Jackie, Liz, Nancy Reagan, and the Bush Dynasty will be worth the reading on squeaky clean Oprah.

2817 days ago
9.

P    

phat ass = phat checkbook.

2817 days ago
10.

P    

Her skin is not as white as M.J.'s, biotch. Money can'r buy you love foo. Where is studman?

2817 days ago
11.

They about to get paid!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!    

who gives a flying crap,some of this shit is really stupid,TMZ, needs to report some news,and quit making up shit

2817 days ago
12.

Seriously    

Great, another Oprah story. Is this some kind of torture?

2817 days ago
13.

W!    

I wonder if these conversations regard Ms. O's sexuality..... maybe she was having hot phone sex with Gail???

2817 days ago
14.

Mia    

You are actually slow on reporting this. In fact, you seem to be slow on reporting a lot of things.

2817 days ago
15.

Frank    

His last name, Bonvillain, loosely translates to "Good Villain". Alas, he should have been named Convillain or "Dumbass Villain" ;)

2817 days ago
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