Shannon Michelle Clark Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour
Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Missoula on May 22, 2009, before Senior U.S. District Judge Justin L. Quackenbush, SHANNON MICHELLE CLARK, a 36-year-old resident of Bozeman, pled guilty to extortion. Sentencing is set for September 17, 2009. She is currently released on special conditions.
In an Offer of Proof filed by the United States, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
In June of 2008, W.M. ended a relationship with CLARK. CLARK subsequently demanded that W.M. pay her $10,000 per month for six months as "severance" for ending the relationship. CLARK told W.M. that she would tell W.M.'s family, colleagues, or the newspaper about their relationship if W.M. did not pay her $60,000.
CLARK had several conversations about her demands with a friend and with W.M. On June 24, 2008, CLARK talked with a friend about her relationship with W.M. and her demand that W.M. pay her $60,000. CLARK explained that if W.M. would not help her, she could call the FBI to discuss the nature of their relationship, specifically the fact that W.M. told CLARK never to tell the FBI the truth about their relationship. CLARK told her friend, "I've got you [W.M.] right there. If you [W.M.] don't f---ing help me . . . do I call the FBI?" CLARK also said that she had "the goods" on W.M., including a bank deposit slip with W.M.'s name on it.
On July 22, 2008, CLARK again discussed W.M. with her friend. She mentioned the "severance" package that she demanded and said W.M. was "guilty as hell" and that she had voice mail messages and bank statements that could be used as leverage. The next day, July 23, 2008, CLARK again told her friend about "incriminating" voice mail messages from W.M. and bank records showing that W.M. forged her signature. CLARK also told her friend that she did not want her demands to sound like blackmail, but she wanted $10,000 per month for six months.
On August 2, 2008, CLARK told W.M. that she was very upset, that she knew W.M. could afford to pay her, and that if W.M. did not pay her she would consider going to the police.
W.M. eventually made three payments to CLARK, totaling $5,250. All three payments were monitored by the FBI. Following the final payment, on August 27, 2008, the FBI arrested CLARK and no further payments were demanded by CLARK or made by W.M.
CLARK faces possible penalties of 1 year in prison, a $100,000 fine and 1 year supervised release.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Racicot prosecuted the case for the United States.
The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.