Kenmore Man Pleads Guilty to Extortion
BUFFALO, NY—U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Brian Morath, 34, of Kenmore, NY, who was convicted of extortion, was sentenced to 37 months in prison by U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Arcara. The defendant was also ordered to pay $130,000 in restitution.
“This defendant preyed upon one of the more vulnerable members in our community,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul. “Thankfully, this elderly victim alerted law enforcement and we were able to arrest and convict the defendant and prevent him from victimizing this or other individual.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel L. Violanti, who handled the case, stated that between December 2012 and October 2013, Morath extorted $130,000 from an elderly victim. During this time, the defendant threatened the victim on multiple occasions claiming that if the victim did not give him money, individuals would be sent to collect the money from him. The victim made several cash withdrawals from a savings account but eventually he advised Morath that he could not pay any more money.
Subsequently, the victim started receiving voice mails and text messages from the defendant threatening physical harm if he did not give the defendant any more money. On October 7, 2013, law enforcement officers monitored the defendant’s phone and confirmed that Morath made several threatening communications to the victim over the phone and through text messages. Investigators were able to determine that the the messages were being sent by the defendant.
The sentencing is the culmination of an investigation on the part of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.