You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Sutton Man Convicted of Attempted Extortion of Family Farm

BOSTON – A former salesman for a cattle farm in Maine, was convicted by a federal jury on Friday, Jan. 15 in U.S. District Court in Worcester for attempting to extort the farm’s owners.  

James P. DiDonna, 50, of Sutton, Mass., was convicted following a week-long trial on one count of attempted extortion and one count of attempted collection of an extension of credit by extortionate means.  U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman scheduled sentencing for April 8, 2016.

In 2011, DiDonna was hired by Archer Angus, a family run cattle farm in Chesterville, Maine, as an independent salesman of its beef products.  Archer Angus terminated DiDonna in July 2012.  Between June and October 2013, DiDonna threatened the owners that if he was not paid, he would reveal supposedly damaging information about the farm – the complete nature of which he refused to reveal.  Ultimately, DiDonna demanded $40,000 for his silence.

The charges each provide for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000.  Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties.  Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation made the announcement today.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys William F. Bloomer and Giselle J. Joffre of Ortiz’s Major Crimes Unit.

Updated February 4, 2016