FBI: Man tried to extort Paula Deen

FBI: Man tried to extort Paula Deen

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - A former Savannah resident was arrested Friday morning by the FBI in New York on charges of extortion.

Thomas George Paculis, 62, of Newfield, NY, who used to live in Savannah and Augusta, was arrested without incident by FBI agents and deputies from the Tompkins County Sheriff' Office, according to the FBI Atlanta office.

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.

He was taken to the Onondaga County Jail in New York. He is scheduled to appear before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in Savannah at 9 a.m. July 16.

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