Granite City Man Charged with Attempted Extortion by Means of Threatening Physical Violence
The United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today that Brett L. Nash, 45, of Granite City, was arraigned in federal district court in East St. Louis yesterday on charges that he attempted to extort a targeted individual by threatening physical violence. The charges were alleged in a Criminal Complaint filed on January 24, 2012.
The Criminal Complaint charges Nash with attempted extortion, by use of threats of violence, under the Hobbs Act. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and up to 5 years of supervised release.
The Complaint alleges that on January 9, 2012, Nash tried to recruit an acquaintance’s assistance in carrying out an extortion scheme aimed at obtaining money from a targeted individual through threats of violence. After Nash obtained the money, it is alleged that Nash planned on killing the targeted individual in a manner which would look like an accident. The acquaintance reported the scheme to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and remained in contact with Nash in an undercover capacity.
The Complaint alleges that over the course of the next two weeks Nash had multiple meetings with the undercover acquaintance for the specific purpose of planning out the extortion scheme. Nash’s plan focused on the seizure of the targeted individual and the use of threats and force to get the individual to withdraw large amounts of money from his personal bank account and from a safe in the individual’s home. Nash planned on splitting the proceeds of the extortion with his undercover acquaintance. It is further alleged that Nash gathered many of the items needed for the operation including a head covering mask, a set of handcuffs and a CO2 Gun.
It is alleged that on January 23, 2012, the date of Nash’s arrest, he and his undercover acquaintance made a dry run to the targeted individual’s house to scout the location, for the planned operation. The Complaint alleges that Nash had planned to execute his scheme later on that very evening.
The case was investigated by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and officers of the Madison County Sheriff’s Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen B. Clark and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher C. Heery.
A Criminal Complaint is a charge against the defendant. Under the law, that charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.