U.S. Attorney's Office
Western District of Kentucky
(502) 582-5911
August 13, 2014

Mississippi Man Convicted of the Attempted Online Extortion of the University of Louisville Athletic Association

LOUISVILLE, KY—A Jackson, Mississippi, man was convicted in U.S. District Court today, following a day-and-a-half jury trial, on a single count of extortion, by means of a threatening interstate communication, announced David J. Hale, United States Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky.

The jury deliberated less than two hours before convicting Thomas E. Ray, age 36, of Jackson, Mississippi.

Ray was indicted by a federal grand jury meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, on October 16, 2013. The indictment was unsealed on October 24, 2013, following Ray’s arrest in Mississippi, by the U.S. Marshal Service.

According to evidence presented at trial, Ray used the alias “Melinda White” when he knowingly sent an e-mail communication from his home in Jackson, to the Commonwealth of Kentucky, on April 23, 2013. Ray’s e-mail was sent to two University of Louisville employees with a threat to injure the reputation of the University of Louisville Athletic Association and a demand for $3.5 million.

Ray faces no more than two years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000 and a one year period of supervised release. Ray was taken in to custody by the U.S. Marshal Service in Louisville and is scheduled for sentencing before Chief Judge Joseph H. McKinley Jr. on November 3, 2014, in Louisville.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney A. Spencer McKiness and was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Louisville Metro Police Department, and Office of the Kentucky Attorney General.

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