Taneytown man gets 1-year term for threat

October 05, 2007

A Taneytown man was sentenced yesterday in federal court to one year in prison for trying to extort money from a bank and threatening the manager's family, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

Chief U.S. District Judge Benson E. Legg also sentenced Gary Wayne Smith Jr. to six months of home detention with electronic monitoring and three years of supervised release.

Smith, 36, had pleaded guilty to mailing a letter to the manager of Middletown Valley Bank and demanding $60,000 in cash, federal prosecutors said. Smith had been having financial difficulties in February after a Montgomery County fraud conviction in which he was ordered to pay $17,000 in restitution.

The letter, which threatened the manager and his family and directed that the money be left in a bag near New Market, prompted an FBI investigation.

Smith and a co-worker at a fence-construction company went to the site of the planned exchange. After spending 40 minutes pretending to measure for a job, they approached the bag, found that it did not contain money, then drove off, prosecutors said.

Investigators stopped the men, who said they were measuring for a job and had looked inside the bag out of curiosity. Smith then asked his co-worker - Arthur Thomas Wilson Jr., 24, of Taneytown - to write a fake work order.

Later, Smith admitted to investigators that he wrote the threatening letter, prosecutors said.

Wilson had earlier pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact to mailing threatening communications. He was sentenced to four months in prison, four months of home detention and two years of supervised release.

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