Man tied to extortion case ordered back to prison


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Originally Posted Online: Feb. 21, 2013, 10:14 am
Last Updated: Feb. 21, 2013, 12:34 pm
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EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — A man who tried to extort money from a former St. Louis Cardinals player over an alleged sexual liaison has been ordered to return to prison because of drug-related violations of his parole.

Chief U.S. District Judge David Herndon yanked George Edwards' supervised release and sentenced him in East St. Louis, Ill., to two years behind bars after authorities said they recently found the Belleville, Ill., man with cocaine and marijuana, and that he tested positive for cocaine use.

Edwards, 54, pleaded guilty in 2007 to a wire fraud count in an extortion case targeting someone never publicly identified by attorneys or in court documents. A person familiar with the investigation told The Associated Press then that former Cardinals second baseman Ronnie Belliard was the target.

Belliard, who is now retired from baseball, had a wife and two children at the time. He has never publicly spoken about the case or admitted to having any ties to it.

Prosecutors said Edwards told the player that he had impregnated Edwards' daughter, who the player had met at a St. Louis nightclub. They said Edwards demanded $150,000 from the player to keep quiet.

According to the indictment, Edwards told the athlete's agents by phone that a paternity test proved the athlete impregnated the daughter. It says Edwards then lied when he said certain health care providers had tended to his daughter before an eventual miscarriage.

Even after the supposed miscarriage, Edwards said he and his daughter still wanted to be paid to keep them from telling the media, according to the indictment.

Authorities say the scheme unraveled when the agents reported the matter to investigators, including the FBI, who secretly taped four conversations between Edwards and the agents.

Edwards' daughter has not been charged.

Edwards was sentenced in July 2007 to a year and a day in federal prison, followed by four years of supervised release.

It wasn't immediately clear where Edwards would serve the rest of his prison time. The U.S. Bureau of Prisons' website Thursday showed only that he was "in transit," in the custody of federal marshals.

Prior to the extortion case, Edwards was arrested on drug charges in Illinois, California and Georgia. He also has various weapons convictions.














 



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