U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Connecticut
(203) 821-3700
April 27, 2015

New York Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Extortion Charge

Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Patricia M. Ferrick, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced that ERNEST SYKU, 44, of the Bronx, N.Y., pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Robert N. Chatigny in Hartford to a federal extortion charge.

According to court documents and statements made in court, SYKU and Robert Francella, also known as “Bobby Fingers,” of Yonkers, N.Y., threatened a Connecticut resident with violence in order to induce the victim to pay an alleged $240,000 debt.  SYKU claimed that this debt was owed to SYKU’s deceased uncle.  On one occasion, SYKU told the victim that SYKU was “the one who can break you in many pieces.” SYKU further told the victim “to have mercy on yourself” if the victim did not bring SYKU the money.  On another occasion, SYKU provided his cellular telephone to Francella, who left a threatening voice mail for the victim.

SYKU and Francella were arrested on March 13, 2014.

After he was arrested, SYKU confessed to law enforcement that he had directed Francella to scare the victim into paying the alleged debt.

SYKU pleaded guilty to one count of attempted collection of extension of credit by extortionate means, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years and a fine of up to $250,000.  Judge Chatigny scheduled sentencing for July 15, 2015.

Francella pleaded guilty on November 17, 2014.  He awaits sentencing.

This matter was investigated by the FBI Fairfield County Organized Crime Task Force and the Bridgeport Police Department.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Hal Chen and Heather Cherry.

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