Death Threats Lead to former NPC Athlete Arrest
NPC & UFE Bikini Competitor Tammy Steffen arrested after FBI investigation into her numerous death threats sent to other competitors. "The FBI became interested in Steffen long before her July arrest. Between August 2016 and July 2018, "Steffen engaged in a course of conduct with the intent to harass or intimidate six victims," according to Steffen's plea agreement released Friday."
Florida Bodybuilder Mom Sent Death Threats To Rivals
In a bizarre case, a 36-year-old Holiday mother and bodybuilder has pleaded guilty to sending death threats to competitors.
By D'Ann Lawrence White, Patch Staff | Dec 23, 2018
HOLIDAY, FL — In the latest twist in a bizarre case that has attracted national attention, a 36-year-old Holiday mother and bodybuilder has pleaded guilty to sending death threats to her competitors, including a former boss. U.S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez said Friday that Tammy Marie Steffen pleaded guilty to one count of cyberstalking and one count of sending threatening communications online. Steffen faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison for each count.
More Charges For Bodybuilding Mom
Shortly after Steffen's arrest, the Pasco County Sheriff announced that Steffen was facing additional charges of witness tampering for trying to convince her daughter to accept blame for filing a false kidnapping report.
Steffen called her daughter from the Land O' Lakes Detention Center on July 20 at 10:30 a.m. and instructed her to tell her father that the fake kidnapping plot was the daughter's idea, and that the daughter had supplied Steffen with money to buy the laptop case and notebook at Walmart.
In a second phone call, about an hour later, Steffen again encouraged her daughter to take responsibility for the kidnapping plot, saying, "You won't get in trouble, but I will." Steffen told her daughter that she would be charged with child neglect and wouldn't be able to see her.
When confronted about the phone calls, Steffen claimed she was simply giving her daughter permission to tell the truth and was not trying to manipulate the girl.
Case Grows More Bizarre
Beaman said the more detectives investigated the case, the stranger it became.
"There's more going on, probably, than we realize," he said.
His words proved prophetic.
Detectives found an earlier complaint from Steffen who called the Pasco Sheriff's Office to report a headless doll being placed on her front porch with a note that read: "New toy for the kids."
Detectives now say Steffen plotted with a friend on July 9 to place the headless doll on her own porch in an attempt to frame her ex-boss. When deputies failed to take her complaint seriously, she staged the attempted kidnapping.
The FBI became interested in Steffen long before her July arrest.
Between August 2016 and July 2018, "Steffen engaged in a course of conduct with the intent to harass or intimidate six victims," according to Steffen's plea agreement released Friday.
The FBI launched its investigation months before Steffen's arrest on the false attempted kidnapping charge. The complaint said she cyberstalked, harassed and threatened several of her former colleagues and associates through repeated emails, phone calls, text messages and social media messages from numerous phone numbers and accounts.
To date, the FBI has identified at least 369 Instagram accounts and 18 email accounts that Steffen created and used to send messages to her victims who "viewed the messages as true threats and suffered substantial emotional distress," the plea agreement said.
Victims are listed in court documents only by their initials: K.B., K.M. L.L., S.T., R.C. and M.X.
K.B., also a bodybuilding competitor, lives in Collier County. K.B. received 327 harassing Instagram messages and 129 emails from Steffen's known personal email accounts and 19 messages to K.B.'s business website.
To K.B: "Did you know you can put dog sh*t, egg property and so much more. Did you know it's not a crime at all LOL. Do not want you shocked at the laws as the next phase happens. Once put acid on a girls car with my ex-bestie melted that bitch to the group. right in a high school parking lot. You might know who it is but try to stop me. The wonderful thing is I know the laws. I can move around like always. You are not very smart. I sat in front of a judge with a smile on my face. He looked and said you are very bad. I just laughed. You picked the wrong path here. I feel for you but don't say I didn't warn you."
Another message to K.B. read:
"Time is up! You will reap Everything you have coming. I warned YOU. My full time job. Never try to contact me to settle this. That has passed. I am only sorry for all in your life. Let it spread like a wild fire. Bye b*tch. Even when you beg will I show no mercy."
Then there was this short, cryptic message to K.B. on July 8.
"You will die by my hands. You had you [sic]chance."
To H.J., she wrote:
"You could have helped your friends. You decided not to. You could have ended this a long time ago. You made all the wrong decisions. You will pay through watching those you care about pay. You will feel the pain you put me through. Checkmate you lost."
Victim K.M., who lives in Michigan, began receiving repeated, harassing and threatening messages from approximately 18 Instagram accounts and 21 emails from various accounts used by Steffen in November 2016.
"All hell is gonna rain fire down on your world like never seen before. You have picked the wrong person to mess with. You have no idea what you've done. I will be catching the next flight to Michigan out of here."
Agents say Steffen also tagged K.J. in a photo showing a woman holding two knives with the caption, "I'm coming."
R.C., the person who bore the brunt of Steffen's wrath, hired Steffen to work as a personal trainer in his Tampa gym in March 2016. He fired her in September 2016. He began receiving harassing messages from Steffen in January 2017.
On June 18, FBI agents executed a search warrant at Steffen's home, confiscating her cell phone and computer.
During interviews, Steffen admitted to creating a number of fake Instagram accounts to send disturbing messages to colleagues and fellow competitors.
She said she also made threatening phone calls from her son's cell phone to M.X.'s workplace.
Her computer browsing history showed she searched the websites iptracker.org; legalfakes.com; howtohackanigaccount.com;syphustraining.com; and mastersofrevenge.com.
She also searched the Mayo Clinic's website for an article titled "Narcissistic Personality Disorder."
What Happened To Tammy Steffen?
It's unclear what led Steffen to such peculiar behavior.
Steffan is listed as the co-founder of a company called Beyond Fit Bikini, although Patch could find no company under that name listed by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
Steffen also competes in national health, fitness and bodybuilding competitions.
Judging by the Beyond Fit Bikini website that features before-and-after photos of her clients, Steffen appears to be a successful businesswoman.
Her biography says she has a bachelor of science degree in business management, is a registered dietitian and a certified personal trainer with the International Sports Sciences Association in sports nutrition, fitness nutrition and bodybuilding. She says she has "over 15 years of experience coaching athletes."
She also says she's a seasoned kick boxer, nail technician and lash specialist.
"As a competitor myself, I bring compassion and understanding of what it takes to make it to stage," she wrote on the website. "As a coach, I work one on one with each client to learn how their bodies best respond to nutrition, and which exercises maximize their growth. Ultimately, I bring my clients to the best physical shape of their life."
She describes herself as a "fit mom of two (although her Facebook page shows four children — two boys and two girls) active children, practicing an active lifestyle driven by the passion of setting a positive example for my two kids."
Her Facebook page under the name Tammy Masters makes no mention of feuds with colleagues or criminal charges against her.
Instead, she talks about coaching her kids' soccer team, her faith in God, setting up a GoFundMe page for her sister-in-law who is battling cancer and raising money with her children for the Wounded Warriors Project.
Her most recent Facebook message posted just after the U.S. Attorney announced the plea agreement with Steffen reads: "Darkness thought it had her, but it did not know her God. It did not know her story God was giving her to tell. 2019 let's go!"
In November, she wrote: "Just when they thought I was finished, I just smile thinking I have only began. This is my reason why." She included a photo of herself with her four children.
State records show Steffen married Jeffery Alan Steffen on Oct. 29, 2003 and they purchased the home on Mela Court the same year. They divorced this year on Aug. 23.
Steffen did not respond to requests for an interview.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rachel K. Jones and Lisa M. Thelwell prosecuted the federal case against Steffen. A sentencing hearing has not yet been set.
At a Dec. 18 arraignment before Pasco Court Judge Kimberly Campbell, Steffen, represented by defense attorney Jonathan Maguire, pleaded not guilty to the Pasco County charges of tampering with evidence, making a false report to law enforcement and obstructing justice.
Her next court date is March 12.