A shocking incident involving Hampton City Councilman Christopher “Chris” Bowman has recently come to light after court documents revealed that he was extorted out of $5,000 following a visit to a prostitute in early 2022. The details surrounding the encounter were disclosed in a criminal complaint against Michael Eugene Brown II, the man accused of swindling Bowman.
According to the complaint, in January 2022, Councilman Bowman paid a woman $200 for oral sex at a Newport News hotel room. However, upon returning to his car after the encounter, he discovered that several items, including his personal cell phone, had gone missing. A week later, Bowman received a call from a man claiming to have his phone and demanded increasing amounts of money for its return.
The extortion scheme reached its climax on March 22, 2022, outside a Hampton hospital, where Bowman handed over an envelope containing $5,000 in cash. Shockingly, the man fled with the money without returning the phone. It took over a year for the authorities to arrest Michael Eugene Brown II, who now faces felony extortion charges and a potential sentence of up to 10 years behind bars.
Bowman, who was elected to a four-year term on the Hampton City Council, expressed his belief that the prostitute and Brown were co-conspirators in the swindle. He admitted his embarrassment and acknowledged that it was a case of poor judgment on his part. Despite not being charged with a crime, Bowman apologized to the citizens of Hampton for this one-time lapse in judgment.
The criminal investigation began in April 2022, shortly after Bowman reported the extortion to the Hampton Police Division. He revealed that he had met the prostitute on a website called SkipTheGames.com, which offers escort services in various cities. The investigation, led by Detective Steven L. Cooke, uncovered a series of calls and texts from an unknown man threatening to expose the phone’s contents if Bowman didn’t comply.
The demand for money escalated until Bowman agreed to meet the extortionist at the Hampton Sentara CarePlex, where he was to hand over $5,000 for the phone’s return. Regrettably, the man departed with the cash, leaving Bowman empty-handed. Surveillance footage from a nearby credit union enabled the identification of Michael Eugene Brown II as the suspect.
It remains unclear why it took over a year for the authorities to charge and arrest Brown. Hampton police spokesperson Sgt. Ashley Jenrette did not provide an immediate response regarding the delay. Additionally, a warrant for the arrest of 24-year-old Jasmiah Scarlett, a Hampton woman, has also been issued on one count of extortion.
While Councilman Bowman’s name was not explicitly mentioned in the court documents, his initials, along with his date of birth, match the details given in the complaint. Bowman’s attorney, Carter Phillips, issued a statement expressing regret and assuring the public that nothing like this incident would ever happen again.
This unfortunate incident serves as a cautionary tale and reminds us of the importance of exercising better judgment. The investigation has shed light on the dangers associated with engaging in illicit activities, emphasizing the need for individuals to be vigilant and protect their personal information.