New York Man Pleads Guilty to $4 Million Extortion Scheme
Defendant's Brother Pretended to Be a New York Mobster as Part of Scheme
WASHINGTON – Robert Evans, 33, of New York, N.Y., pled guilty today to participating in a $4 million extortion, fraud, and money laundering scheme with his ex-common-law wife and members of his family, including his parents. The guilty plea was announced by Acting U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips and James A. Dawson, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office Criminal Division.
In April 2018, a federal grand jury indicted Evans, his common-law ex-wife Gina Rita Russell, his brothers Tony John Evans and Corry Blue Evans, and his parents Archie Kaslov and Candy Evans on various charges related to the scheme. With the exception of Corry Blue Evans, each defendant has pled guilty.
As part of the scheme, a New York woman conspired with Robert Evans, Russell, Tony John Evans, Corry Blue Evans, and Kaslov to extort money and gold bars from a Maryland man, which caused the man to embezzle funds from his employer between January 2017 and March 2017. The man converted embezzled funds to cash and gold bars. He delivered the money and gold bars to New York drop-off locations, including a hotel room, believing the funds were going to mobsters to whom the New York woman owed money. At one point during the scheme, Tony John Evans spoke to the man on the phone and threatened him by asking if he needed to remind the man where his kids went to school and where the man lived.
In reality, all of the funds the man embezzled and delivered to New York went to members of the Evans-Kaslov family. Among other things, Robert Evans arranged the logistics of a $500,000 cash payment, which involved renting hotel rooms, retrieving the cash after the Maryland man delivered it, and taking the cash to a co-conspirator’s residence.
Like Robert Evans, Tony John Evans and Russell pled guilty to interference with interstate commerce by extortion, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951. Tony John Evans was sentenced to five years in prison and is currently serving his sentence. Russell has not yet been sentenced.
Kaslov pled guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371, and admitted to driving family members around New York with cash obtained from the scheme, selling gold bars for cash, and traveling to Texas to purchase a Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead for more than $300,000 in cash. In January 2020, Kaslov and Candy Evans sold that Rolls Royce in New Jersey for $120,000.
Candy Evans pled guilty to tampering with a witness by corrupt persuasion or misleading conduct, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1512(b)(3). As part of her guilty plea, she admitted that once the FBI launched its investigation, she counseled the New York woman whom the Maryland man met on Backpage to lie to people, including the FBI. In October 2017, two days after the FBI executed search warrants at various Evans-Kaslov family members’ residences, Candy Evans called an FBI special agent who was investigating the case and told him that Kaslov and two of her other sons had not done anything illegal, which she acknowledged was false, and that it was just Tony John Evans, Russell, and the New York woman who had committed the crimes. In November 2017, Candy Evans also instructed Russell to lie to the FBI. Kaslov and Candy Evans are scheduled to be sentenced on June 10, 2021.
The maximum sentence for interference with interstate commerce by extortion is twenty years in prison. Under federal sentencing guidelines, however, the likely recommended sentence for Robert Evans on that charge is 57 to 71 months in prison. The Honorable Emmet G. Sullivan, who accepted his guilty plea, scheduled sentencing for September 30, 2021.
In announcing the guilty plea, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillips and Special Agent in Charge Dawson commended the work of those who investigated the case from the FBI’s Washington Field Office. They expressed appreciation for assistance provided by the U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General. They also acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Assistant U.S. Attorneys Diane Lucas and Arvind Lal, who are assisting with forfeiture issues, Paralegal Specialist Stephanie Frijas, former Paralegal Specialists Brittany Phillips, Joshua Fein, Jessica Mundi, and Kristy Penny, and Forensic Accountant Bryan Snitselaar.
Finally, they commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys David Kent and Kondi Kleinman, who investigated and are prosecuting the case.