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Mississippi Man Charged with Attempted Online Extortion of the University of Louisville Athletic Association

U.S. Attorney’s Office October 24, 2013
  • Western District of Kentucky (502) 582-5911

LOUISVILLE, KY—A Jackson, Mississippi man was charged by a federal grand jury meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, on October 16, 2013, with a single count of extortion by means of a threatening communication, announced David J. Hale, United States Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky. The federal indictment was unsealed today, following the arrest this morning of Thomas E. Ray, age 35, in Mississippi, by the U.S. Marshal Service.

According to the indictment, Ray, using the alias “Melinda White,” knowingly sent an e-mail communication from his home in Jackson to the commonwealth of Kentucky on April 23, 2013, with the intent to extort $3.5 million from an association and corporation by threatening to injure the reputation of the University of Louisville Athletic Association.

If convicted, Ray faces no more than two years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and a one-year period of supervised release. His initial appearance on the charge was held today, in U.S. District Court located at 501 E. Court Street, Jackson, Mississippi, in the Southern District of Mississippi. Ray posted a $10,000 bond and was ordered to appear in Louisville District Court on November 7, 2013, at 11:00 a.m.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney A. Spencer McKiness and is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Office of the Kentucky Attorney General.

The indictment of a person by a grand jury is an accusation only and that person is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.