The former housekeepers daughter threatened to disgrace the family by spilling embarrassing secrets unless they paid her $3 million.
Instead of counting money, Camille Brown, 31, is sitting in a jail cell, facing extortion charges.
Police say Brown attempted to blackmail a prominent Broward County family, saying she would release to the media more than 50 letters penned by the family matriarch and allegedly containing sensitive personal information.
Brown, of Plantation, made the threats in a Sept. 25 email to Bonnie Schaefer, daughter of Rowland Schaefer, founder Claires Stores, Inc., the Pembroke Pines-based chain of jewelry and fashion accessory shops, according to a probable cause affidavit filed by Florida Department of Law Enforcement agent James O. Born.
Brown appeared before Palm Beach Circuit Judge Joseph Marx Wednesday morning for an arraignment hearing. She did not enter a plea.
Marx set Browns bail at $200,000, and she remained in custody at Palm Beach Countys main jail as of late Wednesday.
Guy Fronstin, Browns defense attorney, suggested in an email to The Miami Herald that police may have acted inappropriately in arresting his client.
Our firm intends to follow-up on numerous issues with law enforcement, Fronstin wrote, that once revealed will shed a very different light on the allegations against her.
According to the police report, Brown first contacted Bonnie Schaefer via email, and identified herself as the daughter of Coleen Parkes, a recently released housekeeper for Rowland and Sylvia Schaefer, who live in Hollywood.
In the email, Brown stated that she was in possession of personal letters written by Sylvia Schaefer, the 89-year-old family matriarch, and she made accusations regarding personal family issues, Born wrote in the report.
Now Bonnie, how would you feel about the world knowing about the darker side of The Incredible Rowland Shafer? the email reads.
Brown then threatened to release the letters to media and disgrace the family, the police report states.
The email, according to Borns report, continues: Promptly respond with a show of commitment to protecting your familys name and the reputation of your father. Otherwise, the letters will go to the highest bidder CNN, Time, Forbes, etc., etc. Attached are samples of some of your mothers 50-plus letters for your convenience, they make for excellent reading.
At Borns behest, Bonnie Schaefer replied to Browns email and asked for a phone number where a family representative could contact her and handle the matter.
Brown provided a phone number that Born then matched with her name, according to the police report, and Browns driver license listed the same address as Parkes, the former housekeeper for the Schaefers.
Born reported that he went undercover as the family representative, and arranged to meet Brown in the lobby of a Boynton Beach hotel twice in October to negotiate a settlement.
At the first meeting, on Oct. 2, Brown arrived driving a green Toyota registered to her mother, according to the police report.
She demanded fair market value for return of the letters and a pledge not to disclose the information, Born wrote.
When Born asked how much money she wanted, Brown reportedly pulled a yellow index card from her purse with the phrase $3 million written on it.
Born reported that he tried to negotiate a lower price, but Brown refused and started to leave.
Ultimately, the FDLE agent agreed to Browns demand, and then produced a pre-written agreement stating that she would not disclose the information.
Born reported that he filled in the $3 million price on the agreement, and that Brown signed the contract and initialed the figure.
Brown also said she wanted the money wired to her account, and produced another yellow index card containing her bank account information, according to the report.
But that first meeting merely set the stage for a sting.
Born reported he arranged a second meeting with Brown for Tuesday at the same hotel, and that he recorded the meeting and stored the documents.
At the second meeting, Born asked Brown for some of Sylvia Schaefers letters in return for the wire transfer, according to the report.
Once Brown produced the letters, Born reported, he asked her to sign a new contract saying that the transaction was complete.
As Brown left the hotel, she was arrested without incident.