SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The man who tried to extort $200,000 from celebrity chef Paula Deen has been sentenced to two years in federal prison and one year of supervised release.
Thomas Paculis, 62, of Newfield, New York, admitted threatening to reveal what he said would be damaging information about Deen if she didn't pay up. The threat came right after Deen came under fire after admitting she used a racial slur in the past.
In August, Paculis pleaded guilty in federal court to trying to make a deal with Deen's attorney to sign a nondisclosure agreement after he threatened to publicly reveal damaging information about her. Prosecutors dropped 1 of 2 charges in exchange for the plea.
Paculis blames "some bad economic times" for his attempt.
Meanwhile, Paula Deen will make her first appearance in Savannah in months this Thursday at her City Market restaurant, The Lady and Sons, to help her son Jamie launch his latest cookbook, "Jamie Deen's Good Food."