A Jamaican phone scammer targeted the wrong man.
Keniel A. Thomas in 2014 made a series of calls to a 90-year-old man, telling him he had won a hefty sum and a new Mercedes Benz in a Mega Millions lottery. In order to collect his prize, the man would have to send $50,000 to cover the taxes.
That man turned out to be former CIA and FBI Director William Webster.
Webster called Thomas back the next day — with the FBI listening in — obtaining Thomas’ real name and email address, while telling him he didn’t have the money readily available. Thomas told Webster he could make a partial payment of $20,000.
About a month later, Thomas called Webster’s home, this time speaking with his wife, Lynda. Thomas threatened that a sniper would kill her with a bullet “straight to the head” and burn down their house, if they did not pay $6,000, according to court records. The FBI was listening in on that call as well.
Thomas continued making threatening calls in the following weeks. He was charged with attempted extortion in 2014 but wasn’t arrested until December 2017, when he traveled from Jamaica to New York.
He pleaded guilty in October and faces 33 to 41 months in prison and fine of up to $150,000.
Webster, now 94, and his wife were in the courtroom Friday when Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell added an additional two-and-a-half years to Thomas’ sentence for the threats made to Webster and his family, according to the Washington Post. The scammer will serve about six years in prison.
Webster is the only person to head both of the nation’s top intelligence agencies. The former federal appeals court judge served as FBI director from 1978-87, followed immediately by four years heading the CIA.