A Jackson, Miss., man with a history of extortion attempts was arrested Thursday on charges of trying to blackmail the University of Louisville athletic department. Thomas Ray wanted $3.5 million in return for not going public with damaging information about the department.
Ray sent an email to U of L on April 23, under an alias threatening to go public with details of a basketball point-shaving scandal.
According to 247 Sports, Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich immediately alerted the NCAA and Kentucky's attorney general about the matter. Jurich issued this statement:
Within minutes of reading the communication in April, I reached out to Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway as well as the NCAA. The matter was shortly thereafter turned over to the FBI and has been a federal investigation and prosecution since that time. We were confident that there was no truth to the accusations made in the communication. We will have no further comment at this time on this ongoing federal prosecution.
According to USA Today, Ray was convicted in 2005 of two counts of extortion and sentenced to 18 months in prison in a case involving big-box retailer Best Buy. In that case, prosecutors said Ray tried to extort $2.5 million from the consumer electronics chain by threatening to expose purported flaws in the company's computer system.
Under the charges in the Louisville case, Ray faces up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. He has been ordered to appear in Louisville District Court on Nov. 7.