Man indicted for extorting Paula Deen appears in court - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Man accused of extortion of Paula Deen appears in court

Thomas George Paculis leaves federal court in downtown Savannah. Thomas George Paculis leaves federal court in downtown Savannah.
Thomas George Paculis Thomas George Paculis
SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

A man indicted on felony charges of extorting Paula Deen pleaded not guilty before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in Chatham County on Tuesday morning.

Thomas George Paculis, 62, of Newfield, NY, who used to live in Savannah and Augusta, was arrested July 5 by FBI agents and deputies from the Tompkins County Sheriff' Office in New York.

Federal charges were filed on June 24 in the Southern District of Georgia. It was filed the same day the details of Deen's video deposition in the harassment and discrimination lawsuit made headlines. 

Paculis sent an email and phone call to Deen's attorney asking for $250,000 in exchange for not disclosing "true and damning" statements that Deen made, according to an FBI news release.

Paculis is accused of indicating that the information he released "would bring hardship and financial ruin to Deen," according to the FBI.  

The charges can bring up to two years in prison and a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.

The state appointed Paculis a lawyer because he could not afford one.

He is out on bail and must report to a probation officer as part of his release. He would have to post a $10,000 unsecured fee if he violates his bond.

He must surrender his passport, he cannot contact the victim and is restricted to the Northern U.S. District of New York and Chatham County and cannot have a firearm. He also may be subject to drug testing.

He has to contact his probation officer within 72 hours if he has an run-in with police officers. 

Copyright 2013 WTOC. All rights reserved.

  • Region 8 News</span><a class="customMoreLink" href="/Global/category.asp?C=4391" target="_top">More >></a>Region 8 NewsMore>>

  • Community reacts to discovery of dead infants found in suitcase

    Community reacts to discovery of dead infants found in suitcase

    Saturday, February 17 2018 7:29 PM EST2018-02-18 00:29:51 GMT
    Saturday, February 17 2018 7:34 PM EST2018-02-18 00:34:52 GMT
    (Source: KAIT)(Source: KAIT)

    Residents in Cross County are still in shock after the bodies of infant twins were found in a suitcase on County Road 602.

    Residents in Cross County are still in shock after the bodies of infant twins were found in a suitcase on County Road 602.

  • breaking

    Student arrested in school threat

    Student arrested in school threat

    Saturday, February 17 2018 6:10 PM EST2018-02-17 23:10:31 GMT
    Saturday, February 17 2018 6:46 PM EST2018-02-17 23:46:16 GMT

    According to Cave City Police Chief Brian Barnett, a juvenile was arrested Saturday on suspicion of terroristic threatening after the student sent a picture. 

    According to Cave City Police Chief Brian Barnett, a juvenile was arrested Saturday on suspicion of terroristic threatening after the student sent a picture. 

  • breaking

    Authorities search for missing autistic teenager

    Authorities search for missing autistic teenager

    Saturday, February 17 2018 12:46 PM EST2018-02-17 17:46:31 GMT
    Saturday, February 17 2018 4:13 PM EST2018-02-17 21:13:19 GMT

    According to a post on the Mississippi County Sheriff's Department's Facebook page, authorities are looking for a missing 18-year-old special needs autistic student. 

    According to a post on the Mississippi County Sheriff's Department's Facebook page, authorities are looking for a missing 18-year-old special needs autistic student. 

Powered by Frankly