Cindy Crawford and her husband Rande Gerber fell victims to a blackmail plot involving a photo of their daughter bound and gagged.
The picture, depicting the seven-year-old tied to a chair, was taken by the couple's former nanny and passed on to suspect Edis Kayalar, it is alleged.
The 26-year-old German has been charged with attempting to extort 100,000 dollars from the supermodel and her entrepreneur partner.
It is alleged that he repeatedly threatened to sell or release the photo to the media if Cindy and Rande failed to pay up.
The daughter told her parents, who had been unaware of the photo, that it was taken as part of a "cops and robbers" game with the nanny.
Kayalar was recently deported to Germany. If convicted of extortion, he could face up to two years in prison.
In a statement, Cindy's spokeswoman Annett Wolf said: "Rande Gerber and Cindy Crawford intend to pursue any and all available legal action against anyone who aids the perpetrator in the distribution or sale of the photograph of their daughter."
The Associated Press has contributed to the report.