Two men charged in scheme to blackmail metro teachers

Associated Press

EAGAN, Minn. — Two men are charged in Dakota County in an elaborate scheme to blackmail teachers and coaches in southern Twin Cities area schools.

The criminal complaint filed Tuesday charges 39-year-old Eric L. Syverson of Eagan and 20-year-old Joseph A. Schultz of Bloomington with conspiracy to commit coercion.

Prosecutors allege that on April 16 the men taped messages to the homes of 22 teachers and coaches threatening to ruin their careers if they didn’t pay $1,000.

The alleged blackmailers threatened to plant pornographic DVDs tied to the educator or prompt students to come forward with allegations of improper sexual advances.


Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom says all of the claims against the teachers and coaches were false.

Syverson confessed to investigators, but said he was being blackmailed himself. He didn’t present evidence to back that up. His bail is set at $60,000.

Schultz told police he helped drive Syverson around, even after he learned of Syverson’s plan. His bond was set at $30,000.

It was not immediately clear if the men have attorneys, and the county jail does not accept messages for inmates.

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