Last Friday, the FBI arrested Thomas George Paculis after he attempted to extort beleaguered ex-Food Network star Paula Deen for $250,000. According to the AP, a criminal complaint filed in Savannah, GA says that the Newfield, NY resident sent an email to Deen's attorney Greg Hodges threatening to go to the news media with "true and damning" statements that would allow Lisa Jackson's case (the lawsuit that launched PaulaDeenGate) to be "won on it's [sic] merit alone," but that "there is a price for such information." That price was $250,000. Deen's attorney took all of this to the FBI, and was instructed to reply to Paculis.
It is unclear what the exact circumstances were surrounding Paculis' arrest last week, but Reuters reports that the FBI/Hodges exchanged several emails with him — even negotiating the amount down to $200,000 — before he was eventually detained. Paculis is scheduled to appear before a federal magistrate judge in Savannah, Georgia, on July 16.
· Feds: NY man tried to extort $250K from Paula Deen [AP]
· Man charged with trying to extort $250,000 from chef Paula Deen [Reuters]
· All Paula Deen Coverage on Eater [-E-]
· All PaulaDeenGate Coverage on Eater [-E-]