New York Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Extortion Charge
Defendant Pretended to be a Mobster in a $4 Million Extortion Scheme
WASHINGTON – Tony John Evans, 30, formerly of New York, N.Y., pled guilty today to extortion related to a wide-ranging scheme that caused a Maryland man to embezzle more than $4 million from his employer in Washington, D.C., announced U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu and Nancy McNamara, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.
Evans pled guilty before the Honorable Emmet G. Sullivan in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to one count of interference with interstate commerce by extortion and aiding and abetting and causing an act to be done. Judge Sullivan scheduled sentencing for Jan. 24, 2019. The charge carries a statutory maximum of 20 years in prison and potential financial penalties. Under federal sentencing guidelines, Evans faces an estimated range of 57 to 71 months in prison and a fine of up to $200,000.
Evans and several members of his family were indicted in April 2018.
In his plea agreement, Evans admitted that from November 2016 through April 2017, he worked with several individuals to extort and defraud others out of money, precious metals, and luxury merchandise. As part of the scheme, he pretended to be a mobster in order to get a Maryland man to provide him and his fellow conspirators with money, luxury goods, and gold. Evans threatened to harm the man and his family if payments were not made.
As a result of Evans and other conspirators’ actions, the man embezzled more than $4 million from his employer in the District of Columbia over a three-month period for the purpose of providing it to Evans and the other conspirators. Towards the end of the conspiracy, the man delivered more than $1 million in gold—which he had purchased with embezzled funds—to a hotel in New York. Evans admitted that he retrieved the gold bars, delivered them to other individuals, and sold several of the bars to a gold dealer in New York in exchange for cash.
In October 2017, the FBI executed a search warrant on Evans’s safe deposit box at a bank in New York. The safe deposit box contained gold and expensive jewelry, including luxury watches and diamonds. As part of his plea agreement, Evans agreed to forfeit his rights to all of the items recovered from the safe deposit box. He also surrendered two additional one-kilogram gold bars to the FBI, along with a Rolex watch, which he purchased with criminal proceeds.
Charges against five co-defendants remain pending.
In announcing the guilty plea, U.S. Attorney Liu and Assistant Director in Charge McNamara commended the work of those who investigated the case from the FBI’s Washington Field Office. They expressed appreciation for the 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. Attorney Diane Lucas, who is assisting with forfeiture issues, Paralegal Specialists Brittany Phillips and Joshua Fein, former Paralegal Specialists 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.