Jason White, 43, of Temecula pleads guilty
in L.A. federal court to 2 counts of federal stalking charges

A Temecula art gallery owner on Monday admitted to cyberstalking and threatening to blackmail a Los Angeles art dealer.

Jason White, 43, of Temecula pleaded guilty in Los Angeles federal court to two counts of federal stalking charges and demanding 300.000 USD from his former boss at a Beverly Hills art gallery.

He could face up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced on June 9th 2014.

FBI agents arrested White on February 12th 2014 after he sent dozens of emails and text messages over a six-month period threatening Los Angeles-based art dealer Robert Bane.

After he abruptly quit Bane’s gallery, White set up several websites claiming Bane and an artist associated with Bane were engaged in international fraud and selling paintings made in sweatshops.

Jason White
Prosecutors said White then tried to blackmail the artists for sums eventually reaching 300.000 USD to take down the websites or hand over the domains. He also contacted a British art dealer who was one of Bane’s largest clients and threatened to contact London newspapers unless he was paid.

As the continued demands were ignored, White’s messages escalated, prosecutors said. Later messages threatened to target artists’ children and White threatened to “kneecap” a child, according to court records.

White, who rented a space behind the Temecula Promenade Mall billed as White Galleries, also threatened a local artist for rent money.

Temecula Promenade Mall
The local artist, who agreed to sell his artwork through White’s gallery, said White asked him to pay his electric bill (which the artist’s family paid). White, whom FBI surveillance teams say was sleeping in the gallery, then began asking for rent money. The artist then began removing his artwork from the gallery. When the artist did so, White sent a message threatening to harm the artist’s child.

On Wednesday, February 12th 2014, White was arrested on charges that he cyberstalked and threatened the children of a Beverly Hills art dealer, his former boss and two artists, as he tried to extort hundreds of thousands of dollars from them.

Federal prosecutors and FBI agents said they collected dozens of text messages and emails from Jason White, 43, in which he threatened to defame the artists and art dealers.

He set up several websites, one claiming the artists were involved in international fraud, one claiming an artist was selling paintings made in sweatshops, and another claiming his former boss “is slandering my grandmother.”

When the demands were ignored, the threats escalated and targeted the art dealers’ children and families, the complaint said.

White’s messages included photos of the children with statements such as, “It will be very unfortunate if something was to happen to him,” and “Your children are my end game … I’m going to be waiting in the bushes to kneecap a child.”

FBI agents monitored White at the gallery off Margarita Road across from the Temecula Promenade mall. The agents believed White was living at the gallery and sleeping in a sleeping bag.

White worked for the Robert Bane Fine Art Gallery in Beverly Hills for about four months, until he quit abruptly in August. According to the complaint, he had claimed to be a reputable art dealer from North Dakota, but failed to make commissions. About a week after White quit, Bane began receiving threatening emails, demanding a 150.000 USD consulting fee, according to the complaint.

“A person with nothing left to lose becomes a very powerful thing,” White wrote. He also listed the websites he had created, using the art professionals’ names in the URLs. White said he would remove the websites once he was paid, according to the criminal complaint.

A week later, White sent an email to Bane’s largest client, who was the largest art publisher in the United Kingdom.

The email said Bane and an artist “were engaged in international fraud” and that White would be contacting London newspapers with the story unless 300.000 USD was paid to White’s Fargo Gallery, the affidavit states.

The emails continued for four months, threatening Bane, his family, White’s former supervisor at the gallery, clients and an artist associated with Bane’s gallery. White said Bane would lose a multimillion-dollar account or go to jail.

In January this year, the threats turned violent, the affidavit says. White allegedly told his ex-boss he would follow her in Manhattan Beach, where she lived, mentioned her children by name and said he would confront them in the style of the movie “Cape Fear.”

“I’d truly start thinking about your families at this moment. After this slander, you will pay some way,” the message stated. “It could have been cash, now you will pay with fear, anguish and pain.”

FBI agents recorded a phone call between Bane and White in which White asked Bain to buy the domain names, or else he would continue to harass him online.

Temecula City Hall
After the phone call, a different artist who had met White through his Temecula gallery reported to the FBI that White threatened him after White agreed to sell his work.

The artist’s family paid White’s electrical bill at the Temecula gallery, but began removing artwork after White began asking for rent money.

According to the federal complaint, White sent a photo of the artist’s child with the message, “Once this gallery closes, all I have to do in my life is take care of (the child). And what if I’m willing to do the time?”

If convicted of stalking charges, White could face up to five years in federal prison.


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