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Woman accused of plot to extort sex offender

7-29-2009 Florida:

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL -- A 46-year-old woman accused of a plot to extort thousands of dollars and a Cadillac from a sex offender with whom she reportedly had an amorous encounter faces a felony charge, according to a recently released arrest affidavit.

The 39-year-old victim told investigators July 8 he met a former co-worker, Carol Merrilee Wands, for lunch about a month prior.

The victim, who was sentenced to 15 years of sex offender probation in April 2005 after pleading no contest to a charge of lewd or lascivious battery, drove Wands to Chili’s in St. Lucie West in his 2003 Cadillac.

During lunch, the victim said, Wands revealed it had been “a long time” since she’d had sex and that she “needed a good man in her life,” an affidavit states.

The victim told investigators that on the ride home, Wands had him touch her chest.

The affidavit gave this account: At Wands’ residence, in the 400 block of Southeast Sandia Drive, Wands continued the encounter, putting her hands in his groin area. Wands grew hesitant and said she didn’t want to continue, and the victim stopped. They talked for awhile before the victim left.

The victim told investigators that about two weeks later he got a typed letter in an envelope he believed to be from Wands. The letter instructed him to make 33 payments of $1,000 in cash and provide the title to his Cadillac. He also was to give his probation officer’s name and supply proof of counseling sessions.

The letter writer wanted a lawyer to draft a contract “so that if the agreement was defaulted on, or something was to happen to the writer, the proceeds would continue to be paid to the writer’s family members, or a lien could be placed against "the victim,” the affidavit states.

In return, the writer indicated a report wouldn’t be filed with the victim’s probation officer “and therefore (the victim) would not go to jail.”

A state attorney’s office investigator, who declined this week to discuss the case in detail, helped the victim make “controlled recorded” calls to Wands, who reportedly threatened to file criminal charges against the victim unless she got cash and the Cadillac. Wands agreed to prepare a contract stating the victim would pay $1,000 and hand over the Cadillac on Monday. An additional $4,000 would be due by August 10.

The two met Monday and Wands produced the contract, which they signed. The victim gave Wands $1,000 and the key to his Cadillac before Wands was arrested on a felony extortion charge. ..Source.. by TC

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