Man sentenced for attempt to blackmail Anthony

NEW YORK -- A man who pleaded guilty to a charge involving an attempt to blackmail Denver Nuggets basketball star Carmelo Anthony for millions of dollars was sentenced Thursday to 18 months to three years in prison.

Santos Joubert, 31, pleaded guilty June 3, 2005, to third-degree attempted grand larceny. He and three other men who pleaded guilty in the case were accused of trying to use a videotape of a nightclub fistfight to blackmail Anthony.

The sentence by state Supreme Court Justice Daniel FitzGerald means Joubert, an ex-convict from the Bronx, will be eligible for parole after he serves 18 months.

Joubert and the others were arrested in November 2004 at a meeting with an undercover police officer at the Trump International Hotel in Manhattan for what they believed would be a $1.25 million payoff.

Assistant District Attorney Jeremy Saland said at arraignment that Joubert was the instigator behind the scheme, in which the defendants initially tried to get $3 million.

The tape supposedly shows Anthony, who is from Baltimore, in a fistfight with someone after a dispute involving his girlfriend inside Club Babalu in midtown Manhattan in September 2004.

Saland told the court Joubert set up the meetings with Anthony's people, telling them, "I'm from the ghetto. I have a criminal record. I'm going to do what I have to do to get my family out of the ghetto."

The prosecutor said then that Joubert planned to use the videotape to fund his family's move to Florida.

After the defendants were arrested, Anthony's agent, Calvin Andrews, issued a statement saying they had been "ill-intentioned" and "trying to cash in" on the taped altercation.

"That incident was a private matter between two individuals, and it has been completely resolved," Andrews said at the time.

The other three in the scheme are:

• Jason Pabon, 28, of the Bronx, who pleaded guilty to fourth-degree grand larceny and was sentenced to 18 months to three years in prison.

• Omar Shabaz, 50, of Maplewood, N.J., who pleaded guilty to attempted grand larceny and was sentenced to 15 months in prison.

• Rodrigo Sanchez, 38, a former lawyer from South Orange, N.J., who pleaded guilty earlier this month to fourth-degree grand larceny and was sentenced to time served, the nearly two years spent in jail waiting for resolution of his case.