The man who plotted to extort over $1 million from Tom Cruise has been found dead.
Authorities said David Hans Schmidt - who threatened to release stolen photographs of Cruise's wedding to Katie Holmes if he didn't receive between
$1.2 and $1.3 million - was found dead at his Arizona townhouse on Friday (28.09.07).
Initial reports indicate Schmidt, who was under house arrest and faced up to two years in federal prison after agreeing to plead guilty to extortion, appeared to have committed suicide.
Lieutenant Anthony Lopez said police officers visited his home at around 3pm after noticing a tracker placed on him had not moved and he had not checked in with police.
The 47-year-old man - who had been released on $100,000 bail - had not yet entered his guilty plea in court, but a plea agreement to that effect was filed in Los Angeles on August 24.
Schmidt also faced a fine of $250,000.
Dubbed the 'Sultan of Sleaze', Schmidt was known for brokering deals involving compromising photographs and videos of celebrities.
Court documents show a co-defendant obtained photographs of Cruise's wedding in Italy last November from the event's official photographer.
Earlier this year, Schmidt tried to auction diaries and personal photographs belonging to Paris Hilton, which he obtained from a Los Angeles storage locker after the hotel heiress failed to make rental payments.
He also claimed to have brokered deals to sell a sex video of Dustin Diamond, who played Screech in 'Saved by the Bell'.