FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
AUSA VICKIE E. LEDUC or
MARCIA MURPHY at 410-209-4885
MAY 16, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TANEYTOWN MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO BANK EXTORTION
Mailed Letter to Bank Manager Demanding $60,000 and Threatened Manager’s Family
Baltimore, Maryland - Gary Wayne Smith, Jr., age 36, of Taneytown, Maryland, pleaded guilty yesterday to bank extortion, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.
According to the plea agreement, Smith was employed by Long Fence, located in Ijamsville, Maryland. In February 2007, Smith was having financial difficulties arising from his conviction for contracting fraud. Smith had been ordered to pay restitution of $17,000, and the first payment was due in February.
On February 2, 2007, Smith mailed a letter to the manager of the Middletown Valley Bank in Middletown, Maryland, whom he knew from his dealings at the bank, demanding $60,000 in cash. Smith directed that the money be left in a bag at a location on Crickenberger Road near New Market, Maryland, on February 8, 2007, at 8:45 p.m. The letter threatened to harm the manager and his family if he did not comply with the demands. After receiving the letter at the bank, the manager contacted the FBI. To secure the safety of the manager and his family, his children were pulled out of school.
Smith told his friend and co-worker Arthur Thomas Wilson, Jr. that he had written a letter to a man he knew at the Middletown Valley Bank demanding a large sum of money. Smith offered to give Wilson $10,000 if Wilson would drive with him to pick up the bag of cash. Wilson agreed to go with Smith, but said that he was not available until the morning of February 9, 2007.
On February 9, 2007, Wilson and Smith drove in their Long Fence truck to the designated drop site. Although they had no work related reason to be at the site, they spent 40 minutes pretending to measure for a job. Wilson and Smith then approached the bag that had been left by the FBI, examined the contents of the bag. After they discovered that the bag did not contain money, they got back in the truck and drove off.
Investigators stopped the Long Fence truck. Smith explained that they were at the location to measure for a Long Fence project, but that he did not have the work order for the project. Smith further explained that he had looked in the bag out of curiosity. Smith and Wilson were allowed to leave. Subsequently, Smith asked Wilson to create a fake work order to provide a reason for their presence at the drop site, which he did. Smith turned the work order in to his supervisors at Long Fence.
Investigators interviewed Smith on February 12, 2007, and Smith admitted to writing the extortion letter and mailing it to the bank manager at the Middletown Valley Bank.
Smith faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release. Chief U.S. District Judge Benson E. Legg has scheduled sentencing for October 4, 2007 at 11:00 a.m.
Arthur Wilson, age 23, also of Taneytown, Maryland, pleaded guilty on May 14, 2007 to being an accessory after the fact to mailing threatening communications. He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release at his sentencing scheduled for July 24, 2007 at 11:00 a.m.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their investigative work. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul E. Budlow, who is prosecuting the case.