A Liberian man was sentenced Friday to nearly three years in prison for trying to extort $2 million from the Christian Science Monitor by promising to win the release of journalist Jill Carroll, who was kidnapped in Iraq.
Kelvin Kamara pleaded guilty in September to one count of making ransom demands. He admitted that, early this year, he e-mailed the newspaper’s Washington bureau and claimed he could win Carroll’s freedom in exchange for ransom.
Kamara had no such influence and was arrested in March, two weeks before Carroll was released unharmed in Iraq after 82 days.
Kamara was sentenced to two years and nine months in prison and faces deportation to Liberia.
Investigators recovered e-mails Kamara sent to the newspaper from a Yahoo account. Calling himself Saidu Mohammed, he told an editor to raise $2 million or Carroll “is likely to become history.”
Editors, with the help of the FBI, exchanged e-mails and phone calls with Kamara, who tried to get the newspaper to wire him money and repeatedly said Carroll was about to be executed.
Kamara’s e-mail address was also apparently used in “Nigerian advance fee schemes,” the FBI said. In such schemes, scammers promise millions of dollars in exchange for help getting money out of Nigeria.