Louisville Woman Charged with Extortion, False Statments to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Retaliation Against Victim
|U.S. Attorney’s Office November 18, 2009|
LOUISVILLE, KY—United States Attorney Candace G. Hill and Timothy D. Cox, Special Agent in Charge, Louisville Division, Federal Bureau of Investigation, jointly announce that a six-count Superseding Indictment was returned today by a Federal Grand Jury sitting in the Louisville Division of the Western District of Kentucky against Karen Sypher, of Louisville, Kentucky. Counts 1, 2, and 3 of the Superseding Indictment charge Sypher with extortion; Counts 4 and 5 charge that she lied to FBI agents; and Count 6 charges her with retaliating against a victim and witness. This Superseding Indictment follows an original Indictment previously returned by the Grand Jury on May 12, 2009.
Count 1 charges that between February 26 and 28, 2009, Sypher violated Title 18, United States Code, Section 875(d), by willfully causing another person to transmit in interstate commerce, with the intent to extort money or other thing of value, threats to injure the reputation of University of Louisville Basketball Coach Rick Pitino and to accuse him of a crime. Count 2 charges that she violated the same statute again on March 6, 2009, by making an interstate threat to Pitino’s reputation with the intent to extort money or other thing of value. Count 3 charges that Sypher violated Title 18, United States Code, Section 876(d), on March 22, 2009, by mailing a communication to Pitino threatening his reputation and threatening to accuse him of a crime, with the intent to extort money or other thing of value. Count 4 charges that on April 16, 2009, Sypher violated Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001, by knowingly and willfully making materially false statements to FBI agents by denying she knew the identity of the man who made extortionate phone calls on February 26 and 28, 2009. Count 5 charges that Sypher also violated Section 1001 on April 16, 2009, by telling FBI agents that her relationship with another subject of the investigation was “strictly business” when it was in fact an intimate personal relationship. Count 6 charges that between June 16 and July 14, 2009, Sypher violated Title 18, United States Code, Section 1513(e), by retaliating against Pitino for reporting a federal crime when she made a criminal complaint to the Louisville Metro Police Department.
The charges carry combined potential penalties of imprisonment up to 26 years, a fine of up to $1,500,000, and a term of supervised release of up to 12 years. Assistant United States Attorney John E. Kuhn, Jr. is prosecuting the case. United States Attorney Candace G. Hill praised the efforts of the FBI for its diligence and professionalism in investigating these matters.
Sypher is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges on December 22, 2009, at 1:00 p.m., in Louisville, Kentucky.