In this episode, retired agent and FBI Retired Case File Review podcast host Jerri Williams interviews the victims of a loan shark and extortion investigation.
The case was a spin-off case of her Group II business-to-business telemarketing undercover case. During a proffer meeting, two of her subjects, brothers Andy and Gary Last Name Unused (LNU), confided that they had been getting short-term loans from Pete D’Amelio, the owner of a check cashing agency at interest rates exceeding 500 percent per year and were being extorted to make repayments.
They revealed they were the victims of a loan shark and credit extortion attempt where the subjects threaten them at gunpoint if they didn’t pay up.
D’Amelio and Frank DeSumma, his collector, had confronted the brothers at their offices demanding payment. After some heated discussion, DeSumma drew a handgun and fired a shot past Andy’s head and into the wall behind him.
Jerri opened a new case and with the assistance of agent Darin Werkmeister (now retired), they arranged for the participation of the Surveillance Operations Group (SOG) to provide safety and protection for the cooperating subjects, as the brothers attended consensually monitored meetings with the three violent defendants.
Jerri, as the case agent, was the affiant of the search and arrest warrants.
One subject, George Delia, pled guilty and received probation. Facing more serious charges of the collection of extensions of credit through extortionate means, the other two, D’Amelio and DeSumma, and went to trial. Jerri testified at length in the week-long trial, which resulted in their conviction for extortion. D’Amelio received a 3 years prison sentence. DeSumma, who was also charged with the use of a firearm during a violent crime, was sentenced to 7 years of incarceration.
The United States Attorney’s Office Eastern District of Pennsylvania presented Jerri with a Certificate of Commendation for her “exceptional and resourceful investigation and dedicated, innovative and tireless efforts” in the successful prosecution of the case.
To learn about the business-to-business telemarketing fraud investigation which brought Andy and Gary to the attention of the FBI, listen to FBI Retired Case File Review Episode 044: Karl LNU – Cooperating Witness, Telemarketing Fraud
“After you told us you had been shot at, we cut into the wall behind your desk and lo-and-behold there’s a slug there. And so we retrieved that as evidence.”—Retired Agent Jerri Williams
The following are links to court filings and motions about the loan shark extortion case and appeals:
USA vs DeSumma and DAmelio – 11/13/1998