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October 24, 2013
A convicted felon named Thomas E. Ray III used the alias Melinda White to try to extort $3.5 million from University of Louisville athletics director Tom Jurich. Ray was arrested by the FBI Thursday morning.
Ray sent Jurich an email on April 23 claiming to have information linking UofL basketball players Gorgui Dieng, Chane Behanan and Russ Smith with point shaving. Dieng, Behanan and Smith were an integral part of Louisville's 16-game win streak that led to the Cardinals' 2013 NCAA Championship.
Ray's claims were thoroughly investigated by the FBI, and he was indicted Thursday morning. Ray is charged with extortion and threatening injury to the reputation of the University of Louisville Athletic Association.
Jurich released a statement today, "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."
UofL believes Ray's accusations are untrue, and the recent suspension of Chane Behanan has nothing to do with Ray's extortion attempt.
Ray was also convicted of extortion in 2005 after a 2003 scheme to extort Best Buy of $2.5 million. In that case, Ray posed used the name Jamie Weathersby and sent emails to BestBuy claiming to have uncovered a break in Best Buy's security software that allowed him to access customer's personal data.
During that trial, the FBI tracked the emails to Ray's computer to his home address at his parent's home in Jackson, Ms. During the case, the FBI presented evidence that Ray had tried similar schemes from the same computer in the past. They found screenshots of the extortion emails and some of the emails themselves on his computer.