One of two men who allegedly tried to sell Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez’s stolen wedding video back to the couple for $1 million pleaded guilty Thursday to attempted grand larceny.
Steven Wortman, 49, a retired postal worker from Sayreville, N.J., said in Manhattan’s state Supreme Court that he and Tito Moses, 31, tried to get a ransom for the stolen video in amounts ranging from $250,000 to $1 million.
When Justice Bonnie Wittner asked Wortman whether he and Moses demanded the money in phone calls between Dec. 20 and 27, 2005, “in exchange for not releasing (the video) to the general public,” the defendant replied, “Sorrowfully, yes.”
Wortman pleaded guilty to attempted grand larceny, a misdemeanor, in exchange for a sentence of three years’ probation. The judge scheduled his sentencing for Aug. 4 and said he will be allowed to report to probation officials in New Jersey.
A video copy of Lopez and Anthony’s June 2004 wedding was in a laptop computer that was in Anthony’s Cadillac Escalade when it was stolen in Linden, N.J., in October 2005. The car was recovered in Newark, N.J., but the laptop was gone.
Prosecutors said Wortman and Moses, an ex-convict from Newark, called Anthony’s production company and talked with a man they thought was a representative of the celebrity couple. That “representative” was in fact an undercover detective.
At one point, the undercover detective balked at the demand for $1 million and Wortman threatened to destroy the laptop and its contents, prosecutors said.
The detective, negotiating later with Moses, got the price down to $250,000, and the defendant agreed to meet him at a diner to give him the laptop, prosecutors said. Police arrested the two men there.
Moses pleaded guilty to attempted grand larceny two weeks ago in exchange for a sentence of 18 months to three years in prison.
Wittner said she will sentence Moses after he is sentenced in a related, pending New Jersey case and that the terms will run concurrently. His New Jersey case involves the theft of Anthony’s sport utility vehicle.