ATLANTA – Ronald Bell, who conspired to extort cash from Georgia Institute of Expertise, has pleaded responsible to a cost of conspiracy to commit extortion.
“The defendant tried to extort Georgia Tech and egregiously tarnish the status of the college’s coach with a false declare of sexual assault,” mentioned U.S. Legal professional Ryan Okay. Buchanan. “By his responsible plea he acknowledged the lie and his legal conduct, and can now face the implications for his crime.”
“Bell sought to severely harm the status of the establishment and their coach solely for his personal monetary achieve,” mentioned Keri Farley, Particular Agent in Cost of FBI Atlanta. “The FBI won’t tolerate false allegations and can do every part in our energy to hunt the reality and maintain people who commit these sort of crimes accountable for his or her egocentric actions.”
In line with U.S. Legal professional Buchanan, the fees and different info introduced in courtroom: Ronald Bell pleaded responsible to conspiring together with his co-defendant, Jennifer Pendley, and a safety guard at Georgia Tech, to falsely accuse the coach of Georgia Tech males’s basketball staff of sexual assault. Bell admitted he recruited the safety guard to falsely declare that the guard witnessed an assault. Bell advised the safety guard that the false accusation of sexual assault could possibly be value $20 million and promised the guard a share of the cash.
Bell additionally communicated with representatives of Georgia Tech and demanded cash in trade for not reporting the claimed sexual assault. For instance, he texted a consultant of Georgia Tech that: “That is going to get very ugly. GT has made no effort . . . to amicably resolve this . . . I suppose this has to get ugly. I attempted to resolve this with out damaging GT’s status . . . .”
After Georgia Tech refused to pay the bribe, Pendley filed a lawsuit claiming sexual battery, sexual assault, and intentional infliction of emotional misery. These claims falsely alleged that the guard witnessed the coach sexually assault Pendley. Finally, the safety guard admitted that his statements have been false and that Bell requested him to deceive help the false sexual assault declare.
Pendley beforehand pled responsible to conspiracy to commit extortion on February 22, 2023.
Sentencing for Ronald Bell, 56, of Oro Valley, Arizona, is scheduled for June 8, 2023 at 11:00 a.m., earlier than U.S. District Decide Thomas W. Thrash.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Assistant U.S. Legal professional Christopher J. Huber is prosecuting the case.
For additional info please contact the U.S. Legal professional’s Public Affairs Workplace at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Web deal with for the U.S. Legal professional’s Workplace for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.