Anthony Digati, a former agent and manager with New York Life Insurance Company, was indicted by a federal grand jury last week for attempting to extort up to $3 million from the company after threatening to use a spam attack to destroy its reputation.
Digati was embroiled in a dispute with New York Life over a policy dispute for which he was originally seeking the refund of $49,500. Believing that he was not being dealt with fairly, Digati created a website to express his opinion of the company and its products and then hired a service to send email spam.
Had he stopped there, he might have been guilty of being little more than a nuisance, however, Digati sent a letter and a series of emails to New York Life executives demanding immediate payment on threat of a massive spam campaign.
In February Digati wrote, via email, “I’m sorry it had to come to this, but I guess you won’t listen to what the customers [sic] concerns are. You enjoy ripping policy holders off with obscure products bought because of the trust you have established over 160+ years. You enjoy misleading the public and I will make it my purpose in life to educate them.”
“I highly suggest you read every word on this website with an IT guy, as well as someone who has the authority to write me a check,” Digati continued, giving New York Life a March 8 deadline to make payment, adding that since the company would not refund his money, he was demanding a non-negotiable $198,303.88, four times the original amount.
Digati was arrested in California on March 6 on the probably cause that he was engaged in extortion. After being transferred to New York, he pleaded not guilty and was released on bond pending trial. If convicted, Digati could be sentenced to as much as two years in prison, fined $250,000, and be compelled to forfeit his computer.