Harvard Student Held in Extortion

A Harvard University student on summer break was arrested Thursday in West Hollywood on extortion charges after he allegedly blackmailed a physician who had tested positive for the AIDS virus, authorities said.

John Michael Fountain, 21, wrote the doctor demanding $10,000 in exchange for remaining silent about the physician’s positive HIV test, deputies said. The physician contacted authorities, who arranged a drop with an envelope containing $10,000 in cash.

Fountain picked up the envelope and went to a West Hollywood bar, deputies said. He was followed to the bar and arrested. Investigators said Fountain admitted sending the extortion letter. He was booked on suspicion of extortion with a threatening letter and was being held in lieu of $5,000 bail.