Sarasota Man Pleads Guilty to Extortion
|U.S. Attorney’s Office June 14, 2013|
TAMPA—United States Attorney Robert E. O’Neill announces that Louis Thomas Caputo (78, Sarasota) pleaded guilty to extortionate collection of debt. Caputo faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison. Caputo was indicted in November 2012. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for August 21, 2013.
According to court documents, Caputo extended loans with interest rates that exceeded 500 percent per year. Over a number of months, beginning in September 2008, he employed extortionate means to collect these debts. Caputo threatened to harm the debtor, made assertions of his connections to the Gambino family, delivered anonymous threatening letters to the debtor, and told the debtor that he had previously been convicted of a similar offense. In fact, Caputo was previously convicted in federal court of, among other things, the extortionate extensions and collections of debt.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Thomas N. Palermo.