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Van der Sloot indicted on wire fraud, extortion charges

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Van der Sloot's attorney files appeal
  • Van der Sloot indicted on charges of wire fraud, extortion
  • Ricardo Flores, slaying victim's father, meets with judge
  • Joran van der Sloot files appeal to ruling upholding legality of his confession, detention
  • Judge is collecting statements from several potential witnesses

(CNN) -- A U.S. federal grand jury on Wednesday indicted Joran van der Sloot on charges of wire fraud and extortion in connection with a plot to sell information about the whereabouts of Natalee Holloway's remains in exchange for $250,000, officials said.

An arrest warrant on these same charges had been issued for van der Sloot earlier this month. The charges are unrelated to the killing of a student in Peru in which van der Sloot is the suspect. He is in Peruvian jail.

Wednesday's indictment alleges that van der Sloot exploited "Beth Holloway's fear that she would never find her daughter's body or know what happened to her unless she paid him $250,000," the Alabama U.S. Attorney's office said.

The Dutchman is accused of making false promises that he would reveal the location of Natalee Holloway's body if the money was transferred to him.

According to the indictment, Beth Holloway wired $15,000 to a bank account van der Sloot held in the Netherlands, and through an attorney gave him an additional $10,000 in person.

Once he had the initial $25,000, van der Sloot showed the attorney, John Kelly, where Natalee Holloway's remains allegedly were hidden. It turned out to be false information, the indictment states.

The indictment seeks for van der Sloot to forfeit $25,100, which includes $100 Beth Holloway initially transferred to van der Sloot to confirm his account.

"I want to applaud the FBI's work on this case," U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance said. "Because of the agents' dedicated efforts, we are able to bring charges against someone who sought profit in a mother's grief."

Video: Reporter interviews Joran in jail

In Peru, van der Sloot's attorney on Wednesday filed an appeal to a ruling that upheld the admissibility of his confession and the legality of his detention in the death of Stephany Flores, 21.

One month after his daughter's killing, Peruvian businessman Ricardo Flores met with a judge Wednesday to give a formal statement about the facts surrounding the case, family members told CNN.

Ricardo Flores helped search for Stephany Flores when she didn't come home on May 30 after a night out at a casino. Her body was later found in a hotel room in Lima, Peru, registered to Joran van der Sloot. He's been charged with first-degree murder and robbery in the case.

Ricardo Flores' meeting with the judge was his first. Van der Sloot refused an opportunity earlier this month to give the judge a statement.

Flores met with Judge Carlos Morales Cordova in Lima.

As the presiding judge, Morales has the duty to be the chief fact-finder, legal experts told CNN. Morales is getting statements from other potential witnesses, as well.

Van der Sloot, 22, is trying to slow down the legal process by appealing his incarceration and trying to nullify a confession he gave.

One judge already denied his claim, but van der Sloot's attorney said his client will fight all the way to the Peruvian Supreme Court and international courts, if necessary. Wednesday's appeal was the first step.

The Flores family will hold a memorial service Wednesday night in Lima to mark the one month anniversary of Stephany Flores' killing.

Stephany Flores was an intelligent woman with tremendous ambition for success in business, friends of hers told CNN. She once wrote a list of 23 businesses that she wanted to do well in, and then checked them off one by one as she decided whether she was really interested in pursuing them.

She came from a privileged family, but was a humble person who was extremely giving, her friends said.

At the time of her death, Stephany Flores had told her friends that she was the happiest that she had ever been in her life, they said.

Van der Sloot, a Dutch citizen, was twice arrested in connection with the disappearance of Alabama teen Natalee Holloway in Aruba in 2005, but he has not been charged in that case.

Police said van der Sloot admitted that he attacked Flores on May 30 after she read an e-mail in his computer connected with the Holloway case. After killing Flores, police say, van der Sloot took money and bank cards from her wallet and fled to Chile, where he was arrested on June 3.

He was returned the next day to Peru.

Van der Sloot is being held at the Miguel Castro Castro Prison, in a high-security area where only two of the 10 cells are occupied and he has no contact with the general prison population.

In Session's Jean Casarez contributed to this report.