KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A Lee’s Summit, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for a $1 million extortion scheme against two Kansas City, Mo., victims.
Leon L. Dudley III, 25, was sentenced by U.S. Chief District Judge Beth Phillips to seven years and five months in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Dudley to pay $5,729 in restitution to his victims for the damage done to their home.
Dudley was found guilty at trial on Nov. 9, 2022, of one count of extortion.
Dudley delivered an extortion note to a Kansas City, Mo., residence on Aug. 24, 2018. The victims reported to law enforcement that a contractor arrived at the residence that morning to complete some work and found an envelope containing a handwritten letter taped to the front of the house near the front door. The letter contained a threat to vandalize and burn down the residence if the victims did not pay $1 million by the next day. The note included a cell phone number for the victim to text when the money was ready, and warned against contacting law enforcement.
The next day, Dudley used a pellet gun to break several windows in the house. The homeowners hired a private security firm, but Dudley returned that evening and broke more windows and a sliding glass door. Dudley caused a total of $5,729 in damage to the house.
Investigators traced the cell phone number on the extortion note to the residence where Dudley lives with his mother. Investigators also located Dudley’s Facebook account, which included a photograph of a handwritten note with similar handwriting to the extortion note, as well as photos of Dudley that matched the physical profile captured in surveillance video at the residence.
Investigators searched Dudley’s residence and found an Apple iPad in his bedroom. The iPad had been stolen during a burglary at the extortion victims’ residence while it was still under construction in June 2018. During a forensic examination of the iPad, investigators found it contained internet searches related to the victims, to burning down a house and purchasing explosive items, and two extortion notes similar to the handwritten note that was left at the victims’ residence. According to court documents, Dudley had prepared to deliver a second note threatening to shoot the homeowners, which was found by investigators on the stolen iPad before it could be delivered.
Investigators found fingerprints on the extortion note and on the envelope that matched to Dudley. They also matched the extortion note to Dudley through handwriting analysis and paper impression analysis, and matched the edges in the paper of the note with the fragment remaining in the spiral notebook from which it was torn, which was recovered in Dudley’s possession.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gregg R. Coonrod and Stephanie C. Bradshaw. It was investigated by the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department and the FBI.