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Press Release

Jackson, Mississippi, Man Sentenced To 24 Months In Prison For The Attempted Online Extortion Of The University Of Louisville Athletic Association

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Kentucky

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A Jackson, Mississippi, man was sentenced to 24 months in prison by Chief Judge Joseph H. McKinley Jr, in United States District Court Monday, November 3, 2014, following his conviction for the attempted online extortion of the University of Louisville Athletic Association, announced David J. Hale, United States Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky.

Thomas E. Ray, age 36, of Jackson Mississippi was convicted of a single count of extortion, by means of threatening communication, by a federal jury in Louisville, on August 13, 2014. The jury deliberated less than two hours before reaching a guilty verdict.

According to evidence presented at trial, Ray used the alias “Melinda White” when he knowingly sent an email communication from his home in Jackson, to the Commonwealth of Kentucky, on April 23, 2013. Ray’s email was sent to two University of Louisville employees with a threat to injure the reputation of the University of Louisville Athletic Association and a demand for $3.5 million.

Ray was indicted by a federal grand jury in Louisville, on October 16, 2013. The indictment was unsealed on October 24, 2013, following Ray’s arrest in Mississippi, by the U.S. Marshal Service.

Ray faced no more than two years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000 and a one year period of supervised release.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney A. Spencer McKiness and was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Louisville Metro Police Department, and Office of the Kentucky Attorney General.

Updated December 15, 2014