Minnesota Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Extortion Scheme That Spanned Over Twenty Years
PHOENIX– Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Steven P. Logan sentenced Steven Dale Audette, 59, of Duluth, MN, to 240 months in prison and three years of supervised release for stealing approximately $3.5 million through an elaborate extortion scheme. Audette was found guilty by a federal jury on March 24, 2016, of one count of conspiracy and ninety counts of wire fraud. His co-defendant and wife, Mary Roach, had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy and was sentenced to 33 months in prison.
Evidence at trial showed that Audette stole nearly $3.5 million from three victims in Scottsdale, Ariz., by falsely representing that Audette was on the run from the mafia and needed funds to pay the CIA and FBI for protection. Audette tormented the victims by threatening that if they did not provide money their family members, including children, would be murdered. The victims’ money was spent by Audette on cars, travel, homes, gifts to family and friends, and other personal items.
The scheme continued for over twenty years, with Audette escalating the threats and harm to the victims if they did not comply with his demands for money. Audette operated the scheme from Arizona, Minnesota, Texas, and Alabama, among other states.
“Through lies, deceit, and threats Audette took advantage of the generosity and vulnerability of the victims. We will vigorously pursue and bring to justice those who would defraud the public,” stated United States Attorney John S. Leonardo.
The investigation in this case was conducted by ATF, IRS and the Marion Country Sherriff’s Office in Chattanooga, Tenn. The prosecution was handled by Kevin M. Rapp and Andrew C. Stone, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Phoenix.
CASE NUMBER: CR-14-00858-PHX-STL
RELEASE NUMBER: 2017-002_ Audette etal
For more information on the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/az/
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