Roxboro man charged with extortion
Posted January 3, 2011 1:29 p.m. EST
Updated January 3, 2011 1:56 p.m. EST
Roxboro, N.C. — A Roxboro man has been charged with trying to obtain money from the owner of a local car dealership and others by threatening violence, authorities said.
Ronald Allen Cardwell, 64, of 120 S. Morgan St., was charged Dec. 21 with federal charges of mailing threatening communications. He also faces state extortion charges.
The owner of Tar Heel Chevrolet and two other business owners in Roxboro received threatening letters in November, demanding that they open bank accounts with $25,000 deposits and take out ads in the local newspaper to provide access codes to the accounts.
The letter-writer also called each of the three families, and federal agents used surveillance video of a pay phone in downtown Roxboro to identify Cardwell as a suspect in the case, according to federal court documents.
When federal investigators interviewed Cardwell, he admitted to sending 22 threatening letters, federal court records state. He said he lives on a fixed income and needed some money, and he hatched the threatening letter scheme after watching an episode of the HBO crime series "The Sopranos," according to court records.