U.S. Attorney’s Office
May 02, 2012
Southern District of West Virginia
California Man Sentenced to Prison for Extortion Scheme
Defendant Organized Plot Connected to West Virginia’s 2011 Special Gubernatorial Election
CHARLESTON, WV—An Angels Camp, California man was sentenced today to six months’ prison and a year of supervised release by United States District Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr. for extortion by interstate communication, announced U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin. Harry Marshall Rae, 63, previously pleaded guilty in January. The defendant admitted that he planned the extortion scheme in connection with last year’s special gubernatorial election held in West Virginia.
Rae admitted that in mid-September 2011, just before West Virginia’s October 4, 2011 special gubernatorial election, he made threats intended to extort $50,000 from the then-acting governor of West Virginia and others.
Rae further admitted that through a series of e-mail and Internet messages, he claimed he had secret video recordings from the greyhound racing business that would damage the governor’s election bid. As part of the scheme, Rae threatened to release the recordings unless he was paid $50,000. The threat prompted an intensive federal and state investigation which spanned from West Virginia to Florida to rural California. Law enforcement ultimately tracked the defendant through records of his Internet use. FBI agents arrested Rae near California’s Yosemite National Park early on the morning of September 29, 2011, before he could carry out his threat.
The court ordered that six months of the defendant’s one year of supervised release term must be served on home confinement.
The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the West Virginia State Police. Counsel to the United States Attorney Steven Ruby handled the prosecution.