Student to Stand Trial in Extortion of Doctor
A man who allegedly sent letters to a doctor threatening to expose that he carried the AIDS virus was ordered to stand trial on charges that he tried to extort $10,000 for his silence.
John Michael Fountain, 21, who said he was a Harvard University student majoring in English literature, was arrested in West Hollywood after the doctor called the Sheriff’s Department and said that he had received threats. His Superior Court arraignment was set for Sept. 11 and Fountain remained jailed with bail set at $5,000.
Authorities have said that Fountain was working for the doctor’s accountant when he found out the doctor had tested positive for the AIDS virus and used the information to send extortion letters. Fountain allegedly used a photocopy of the doctor’s business card to address two letters to him. One said that “I know your secret” and contained a newspaper article regarding physicians who carry the AIDS virus. A second letter allegedly demanded that $10,000 be dropped off at a garage in West Hollywood or the letter writer would go to the media with information about the doctor’s AIDS test results.