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Man who threatened to reveal other man’s sexuality sentenced to prison for extortion

MINNEAPOLIS – United States Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that a Middlesboro, Kentucky man was sentenced for extortion on July 15, 2013, by U.S. District Judge Karen E. Schreier.

Justin Howard, age 25, was sentenced to 21 months in custody, followed by one year of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $53,625.25.

Howard was indicted by a federal grand jury on September 11, 2012, for extortion. He pled guilty to the offense on April 22, 2013.

From August 2011 to July 2012, Howard made telephone calls and sent written messages to a South Dakota man in which Howard threatened to reveal information about the victim’s sexuality unless the victim paid money to Howard. In response to the threats, the victim sent numerous payments to Howard, totaling $53,625.25. The victim reported the crime to law enforcement, resulting in Howard’s arrest.

This case was investigated by the Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. U.S. Attorney Brendan V. Johnson and Assistant U.S. Attorney John E. Haak prosecuted the case.

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