Paula Deen Lawsuit: Man Gets 2 Years for $200K Extortion Attempt

Image: Paula Deen Lawsuit: Man Gets 2 Years for $200K Extortion Attempt Thomas George Paculis walks past reporters.

Wednesday, 18 Sep 2013 08:02 AM

By Megan Anderle

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
    A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
A former Savannah, Georgia businessman who attempted to extort $200,000 from embattled celebrity chef Paula Deen was sentenced Monday to 24 months in federal prison.

Thomas George Paculis, 62, of Newfield, N.Y., urged Deen to keep quiet about damaging testimony he said would “sink her ship before it left the dock” in a pending civil case.

Urgent: Should Obamacare be Repealed? Vote Here Now

Paculis also was ordered to serve a year’s supervised release after completing his prison term and immediately remanded to custody, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Since Paculis is going to federal prison, he will not get parole. U.S. District Judge William T. Moore Jr. did not order restitution or impose a fine in the case.

Paculis admitted on Aug. 9 to communicating the extortion demand to Deen’s then-attorney Greg Hodges on June 27 via email, urging him to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

The FBI tracked Paculis and he was charged with two counts of extortion. He was arrested July 5. In exchange for the plea, prosecutors dropped one of the two charges.

On June 24, Paculis sent an email to Hodges telling him to “make me an offer I can’t refuse” and threatening to “bring hardship and financial ruin” to Deen unless he was paid $250,000, FBI Agent Brad Snider testified. He was arrested July 5.

The threats came at a time when Deen was embroiled in a lawsuit against a former employee at her Savannah restaurant over racial discrimination claims. Deen lost all of her endorsements when she admitted to using racial slurs in the past during her testimony. The judge dismissed the racial discrimination part of the case.

Paculis told Moore he was going through “some bad economic times” at the time, according to the Savannah Morning News.

It is unclear what Paculis claimed to know about Deen. When the FBI showed Deen a photo of Paculis, she said he didn't recognize him or his name.

Urgent: Will Obamacare Hurt Your Wallet? Vote Here Now

Paculis is a former owner of the Troup Square Cafe in Savannah.

Deen made a tearful public appearance on Saturday, for the first time since June, at a cooking show in Houston, Texas. On Thursday, she will make another appearance, at her City Market restaurant in Savannah. She will be promoting her son Jamie’s new cookbook, "Jamie Deen's Good Food."

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
  Copy Shortlink
Send me more news as it happens.
Get me on The Wire
Send me more news as it happens.
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
You May Also Like

Incubus: Island Records Signs Band, Will Release Two EPs in 2015

Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 20:08 PM

The alternative rock band Incubus has signed with Island Records, and will put out two EPs next year, Billboard reported . . .

Squarespace Workers Re-Create Famous Paintings Using Office Objects

Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 19:41 PM

Two Squarespace employees are re-creating famous works of art on their breaks with things found lying around the office, . . .

FedEx Truck Accident Spills Likely Christmas Packages Along Interstate

Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 19:21 PM

A FedEx truck crashed in Georgia on Tuesday, spilling boxes, Netflix videos, and probably Christmas gifts along the high . . .

Top Stories

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved