Man indicted for extorting Paula Deen appears in court - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, 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.

  • NewsNewsMore>>

  • International Trade & Convention center hosts Savannah's first ever Comic-Con

    International Trade & Convention center hosts Savannah's first ever Comic-Con

    Saturday, February 24 2018 8:20 PM EST2018-02-25 01:20:06 GMT
    (Source: WTOC)(Source: WTOC)

    Savannah held its first ever Comic-Con on Saturday, allowing fans to come out and talk about their favorite comic books, movies, and television shows, all while interacting with some of the great minds that have created some of their favorite works. 

    More >>

    Savannah held its first ever Comic-Con on Saturday, allowing fans to come out and talk about their favorite comic books, movies, and television shows, all while interacting with some of the great minds that have created some of their favorite works. 

    More >>
  • Jaguars sweep lower state basketball titles

    Jaguars sweep lower state basketball titles

    Saturday, February 24 2018 7:45 PM EST2018-02-25 00:45:36 GMT

    Both Ridgeland-Hardeeville basketball teams will play for the SCHSL Class AAA state titles after a pair of thrilling victories Saturday in Florence.

    More >>

    Both Ridgeland-Hardeeville basketball teams will play for the SCHSL Class AAA state titles after a pair of thrilling victories Saturday in Florence.

    More >>
  • First Alert Forecast: Few showers Sunday, rain chance peaks Monday

    First Alert Forecast: Few showers Sunday, rain chance peaks Monday

    Saturday, February 24 2018 7:44 PM EST2018-02-25 00:44:23 GMT
    (Source: Raycom Media)(Source: Raycom Media)
    (Source: Raycom Media)(Source: Raycom Media)

    A trough of low pressure - think storm system - begins to have a greater influence on our local forecast later Sunday, with a chance of rain peaking Monday. Under a partly cloudy sky, temperatures gradually cool through the 60s this evening. Areas of fog may develop later; particularly after midnight. Sunday begins with some areas of fog and low clouds. The second half of the weekend is forecast to generally be cloudier than the first-half. Even with that being the case, temperature...

    More >>

    A trough of low pressure - think storm system - begins to have a greater influence on our local forecast later Sunday, with a chance of rain peaking Monday. Under a partly cloudy sky, temperatures gradually cool through the 60s this evening. Areas of fog may develop later; particularly after midnight. Sunday begins with some areas of fog and low clouds. The second half of the weekend is forecast to generally be cloudier than the first-half. Even with that being the case, temperature...

    More >>
Powered by Frankly