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October 21, 2013 | By Ken Dilanian
WASHINGTON - Dominik Neubauer stared into the camera, the steel barrel of an assault rifle pointed at his head. A Yemeni "tribe" had taken him hostage, the 26-year-old Austrian student said in English, a tear rolling down his left cheek. If they aren't paid a ransom, he continued, "they will kill me seven days after this video is published. " In May, three months after the video appeared on YouTube, Neubauer was freed along with a Finnish couple who had also been kidnapped near an Arabic language school in Sana, Yemen's capital.
October 16, 2013 | By Alene Tchekmedyian
A Burbank police officer is due in court Wednesday after he was arrested the day before by federal authorities on suspicion of taking part in an alleged extortion scheme involving his girlfriend's estranged husband. Anthony Valento, a 17-year veteran of the Burbank Police Department, allegedly told his girlfriend Gayle Bassett's husband, who was not identified, that if he paid Bassett more than $100,000, Valento could get pending domestic violence charges against the husband reduced or dropped, the Burbank Leader reported.
September 27, 2013
By utilizing the dual threats of a government shutdown and a default on the debts owed by the United States, House Republicans have moved far beyond traditional political horsetrading and into the realm of government by extortion. Rush Limbaugh and the partisan crew at Fox News, of course, echo GOP talking points that say any shutdown or default will be President Obama's fault because he failed to bargain with Republicans. But that is akin to saying a warehouse owner is at fault for the fire that destroyed his warehouse because he refused the ransom demands of the arsonist who set the fire.  In a normal political negotiation, one party grants something the other side wants in order to get something they want.
September 26, 2013 | By Richard Winton
A 19-year-old Temecula college freshman was taken into custody Thursday on federal charges he "sextorted" newly crowned Miss Teen USA and other young women around the world by hijacking their computer's webcams to capture naked images. Jared James Abrahams allegedly commandeered webcams of unsuspecting women in Canada, Ireland, Russia and across the United States, a federal criminal complaint unsealed Thursday said. After hacking into the webcams to obtain nude photos and videos, Abrahams allegedly used them to blackmail females as young as 16 to provide even more images, videos or live chat sessions.
September 24, 2013 | By Adolfo Flores
A violent prison gang ran drugs in Orange County's jails, ordered brutal beatings of inmates, collected tariffs from neighborhood gangs and issued so-called hard candy lists that marked disobedient members for death, according to indictments made public Tuesday In what authorities described as a major blow to the Mexican Mafia, 129 people were indicted by federal and state authorities on racketeering and other charges related to a criminal enterprise...
August 26, 2013 | By Meg James, This post has been updated, as indicated below
Spanish-language radio star Eduardo "Piolin" Sotelo has filed a lawsuit against six former staff members who worked on his canceled Univision Radio program, claiming the group banded together to try to extort $4.9 million from him. Sotelo claims to be a victim of a shake-down by former employees who allegedly demanded a big payday in exchange for taking their Univision workplace secrets "to the grave," according to the civil lawsuit filed Monday...
July 28, 2013 | By Richard Fausset
MEXICO CITY - Two members of the Mexican navy, including a vice admiral, were shot dead Sunday in the troubled southwestern state of Michoacan, officials said. Michoacan, long a hotbed of drug cartel violence, has become particularly unstable in recent months. Fed up with the extortion, threats and killings carried out by a cartel called the Knights Templar, residents of small towns formed vigilante “self-defense” groups. Clashes and killings escalated, disrupting important agricultural harvests and other businesses.
March 18, 2013 | By Andrew Blankstein, Los Angeles Times
At least 20 reputed members of one of Los Angeles' most notorious gangs have been indicted in connection with a violent extortion racket that targeted food-truck operators in the Hollywood area over at least five years, according to state grand jury records unsealed Monday in a downtown courtroom. The 20 defendants - including four women - named in indictments returned Jan. 28 are allegedly tied to Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13. The individuals, charged with extortion and conspiracy to commit extortion, are all being held on bail ranging from $2 million to just more than $3 million.
March 4, 2013 | By Christie D'Zurilla
Just because it's nutty doesn't mean it's illegal. That's one lesson to be gleaned from the release of Whitney Houston's FBI file. The FBI looked into three episodes in Houston's life - two involving ardent fans, and one concerned with possible extortion - between 1988 and 1999, according to the 128-page document posted online Monday. In all three cases, investigators eventually determined that no crime had occurred. PHOTOS: A Grammy salute to Whitney Houston That said, the activities didn't fall solidly in the "normal" category either.
February 27, 2013 | By Ruben Vives, Los Angeles Times
A former Cudahy councilman was sentenced Monday to three years in federal prison for his role in an extortion and bribery case that authorities say exposed widespread corruption in the southeast Los Angeles County city. Osvaldo Conde is the last of three officials to be sentenced in the federal case. U.S. Atty. Joseph Akrotirianakis recommended that Conde receive seven years in prison. "We sought a higher sentence for him because he was the leader of the criminal activity in which all defendants were involved," Akrotirianakis said.
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