Friday, September 29, 2006

Liberian Man Pleads Guilty to Scheme to Extort Ransom; Money for Kidnapped Christian Science Monitor Journalist

To: National Desk

Contact: U.S. Department of Justice, 202-514-6933;
Web: http://www.Usdoj.Gov/Usao/Dc

WASHINGTON, Sept. 29 /U.S. Newswire/ -- A Liberian
man, Kelvin Kamara, has pleaded guilty to a scheme to
extort $2 million in ransom money for kidnapped
Christian Science Monitor journalist Jill Carroll,
U.S. Attorney Jeffrey A. Taylor of the District of
Columbia and Acting Assistant Director in Charge
Joseph Persichini Jr. of the FBI's Washington Field
Office announced today.

Kamara, 27, a Liberian national, pleaded guilty in the
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
earlier today to transmitting ransom demands in
interstate and foreign commerce. Kamara will be
sentenced on Dec. 8, 2006. He faces a maximum sentence
of 20 years in prison and under the terms of his plea
agreement, a likely sentence of 33 months of

"The United States will not tolerate the actions of
those who try to profit from the tragic circumstances
of others," stated U.S. Attorney Taylor. "As a result
of the extraordinary assistance from the German
government, we were able to bring Mr. Kamara to
justice, despite the fact that he was committing his
crime from abroad."

"The crime committed by Mr. Kamara further victimized
Jill Carroll, her family and associates," said FBI
Acting Assistant Director in Charge Persichini.
"Today's plea is the result of the efforts of law
enforcement working together from opposite parts of
the world to end that victimization."

According to the government's proffer of evidence at
today's plea hearing, on Jan. 7, 2006, armed gunmen in
Iraq kidnapped Jill Carroll. At the time, Carroll was
working as a freelance journalist for The Christian
Science Monitor.

On Feb. 12, 2006, Kamara, who was then residing in
Germany, sent an e-mail to the Washington, D.C. Bureau
of The Christian Science Monitor. Using the alias
"Saidu Mohammed," Kamara wrote:

I can give you informations (sic) to secure the
release of jill carroll, i am mujaheeden and i can
give every information that can lead to securing her
release . . . . i am impatiently waiting to read from
you for further directives and negotiations . . . .
saidu mohammed

The e-mail was false. Kamara had no association with
the real kidnappers, nor was he even in Iraq.

On Feb. 14, 2006, Kamara, continuing to pose as "Saidu
Mohammed," sent the Washington Bureau Chief of The
Christian Science Monitor an e-mail demanding $2
million in ransom money "or else Jill is likely to
become history."

Over the next month, Kamara, by phone and e-mail, made
repeated demands to The Christian Science Monitor for
$2 million in ransom to secure the release of Jill
Carroll. He also repeatedly claimed that Carroll would
die if he did not receive the ransom money.

The German police, through electronic monitoring, were
able to trace the phone that Kamara was using to call
The Christian Science Monitor's Washington Bureau
Chief to an apartment in Muenster, Germany. By similar
means, the German police were also able to determine
that several of the ransom e-mails that Kamara sent
emanated from a computer located in the same

On March 16, 2006, the German police searched the
apartment in Muenster, Germany. Kamara was present
when the police arrived. During the search, they
discovered the telephone that Kamara was using to
contact The Christian Science Monitor. A search of a
computer seized in the apartment revealed that it
contained several of the e-mails that Kamara had sent
to The Christian Science Monitor's Washington Bureau.

Pursuant to a request from the United States, the
German authorities arrested Kamara on March 16, 2006.
He was extradited to the United States on Aug. 25,

In announcing today's plea, U.S. Attorney Taylor and
Acting Assistant Director Persichini praised the
investigate work of FBI Special Agent Charles Price
and Assistant Legal Attaché Kristen McClaren, as well
as Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay I. Bratt, who is
prosecuting the case. They also expressed their
gratitude for the excellent assistance provided by
Michael Heller of the Hessiisches Landeskriminalamt.


/© 2006 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/


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