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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Rochester Man Charged With Attempting to Extort a Rochester Businessman

ROCHESTER, N.Y.-- U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that John L. Lyons, of Caledonia, N.Y., was charged by criminal complaint with intending to extort money by threatening to injure the reputation of another. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard A. Resnick, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, between November 30, 2012 to December 20, 2012, the defendant posed as a private investigator in text messages to the president of a local company in Rochester who was involved in a contentious battle over control and operations of the family owned business. Specifically, Lyons, using his text messaging, stated to the victim that he had obtained incriminating information about the victim. The complaint further stated that if the victim paid the defendant $25,000 in cash, he would give the incriminating information to the victim, rather than turn over the information to the entities that hired Lyons to gather the information about victim.

The complaint is the culmination of an investigation on the part of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Christopher M. Piehota. The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Updated November 18, 2014