New Milford Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Extortion Charge
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that HOWARD HAMMER, 45, of New Milford, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton in New Haven to a federal extortion charge.
According to court documents and statements made in court, in late December 2015 to early January 2016, a loan shark lent an individual approximately $1,500. The individual was required to pay the loan shark the $1,500, plus an additional $500 in interest, within four days of the initial loan. When the individual failed to pay the loan within four days, HAMMER, at the loan shark’s request, agreed to help the loan shark collect on the loan.
In pleading guilty, HAMMER admitted that he sent text messages to the victim that threatened harm to the victim if he failed to pay his debt. He then took screen shots of the threatening text messages and forwarded them to the loan shark. HAMMER and the loan shark also discussed taking the victim’s car either as payment for the debt or as punishment for failure to pay the debt.
On January 25, 2016, the victim suffered permanent bodily injury in connection with this conduct.
HAMMER pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to participate in the collection and attempted collection of an extension of credit by extortionate means, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years and a fine of up to $250,000.
Judge Arterton scheduled sentencing for February 24, 2017.
HAMMER has been detained since his arrest on May 27, 2016.
This matter is being investigated by the FBI Violent Crime Task Force, New Milford Police Department and Connecticut State Police Western District Major Crime Squad. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracy Lee Dayton.