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News Release
November 5, 2002

Charlestown Man Sentenced To Over 15 Years In Extortion Case

Boston, MA… A Charlestown man was sentenced today in federal court to more than 15 years in prison as the result of his conviction in an extortion case.

Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Field Division, and United States Attorney Michael J. Sullivan, announced that JAMES MCCORMICK, age 62, of Wallace Court, Charlestown, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Joseph L. Tauro to 15 years and 8 months in prison, to be followed by 2 years of supervised release. The sentence followed McCormack's trial conviction on July 30, 2002, on charges of conspiracy and attempt to commit extortion.

Evidence presented during trial proved that in the Fall of 1997, former federal probation officer Fredrick Ford, (who is currently incarcerated after pleading guilty in a murder-for-hire scheme), MCCORMACK, and another man discussed kidnapping and holding for ransom, a former marijuana dealer. MCCORMACK and Ford believed that the former dealer possessed millions of dollars in drug proceeds. The plan was to kidnap the former dealer and hold him for ransom. MCCORMACK later enlisted another co-conspirator in the plot, who went to the Carlisle Town Hall and obtained the victim's street address. MCCORMACK used that information and conducted surveillance of the victim and his residence throughout the winter and into the early Spring of 1998. By April, 1998, the conspiracy included MCCORMACK and at least four others. The night before the kidnapping, two of the conspirators stole vehicles to use in the kidnapping. MCCORMACK obtained firearms to use in the crime from another man who was involved in the early stages the scheme.

On the morning of April 17, 1998, MCCORMACK and the four men, with at least two firearms, went to the former dealer's home in Carlisle, blindfolded and kidnapped him from his driveway, and beat him in the process. At least one warning shot was fired during the crime. The kidnappers drove to a commercial building in Charlestown, where the victim was held for approximately 10 hours during which time a $100,000 ransom was demanded of him. After darkness fell, the kidnappers released the victim, telling him they would contact him in the future to obtain the ransom money, which they expected the victim to get from liquidated mutual funds. The kidnappers said they would use the name "Sam" or "Sammy" when they called him to collect the ransom. The victim was badly injured during the kidnapping, and suffered a minor stroke for which he was hospitalized after his release. The victim heard nothing from the kidnappers until late Fall of 1998, when he received a number of messages on his answering machine from an individual who identified himself as "Sam". DEA agents recognized MCCORMACK's voice on the answering machine tape.

The case was investigated by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of the Inspector General for Labor Racketeering, the Boston Police Department's Major Case Unit, the Massachusetts State Police, the Carlisle Police Department and the Everett Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys George Vien, Michael Ricciuti, and Cherie Krigsman.

Please direct any inquire to Special Agent Anthony J. Pettigrew, Public Information Officer, New England Field Division at 617-557-2138.

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