A 41-year-old Washington man has been charged with attempted extortion in connection with an alleged scheme to obtain $50,000 from the manager of the Shepherd Park branch of the National Bank of Washington, the FBI said yesterday.
The suspect, James Leonard Tibbs, of 5513 7th St. NW, a truck driver, was released on his personal recognizance yesterday by U.S. Magistrate Henry H. Kennedy Jr. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for January 9.
According to a complaint field in U.S. District Court, on Dec. 20 an unidentified man called the bank manager, Wilmer Waller, at his office, demanded the $50,000 and threatened to harm Waller's family and "wreck his home" if the demand were not met. The bank manager then contacted the FBI, a spokesman there said.
The next day, and FBI agent posing as Waller went to an area in Takoma Park, Md., and deposited a package in a garbage dumpster there as the caller had instructed, according to the complaint and the FBI spokesman.
After several hours, the spokesman said, no one showed up to pick up the package, so the FBI retrieved it and returned to the bank, located at 7601 Georgia Ave. NW.
When they left the pick up area, the investigators were followed by two men in a 1963 Buick, the complaint said.A subsequent check of the owner of the vehicle resulted in the arrest last Friday of Tibbs. The second man was also arrested but charges against him were dropped, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Tibb's has denied any involvement in the alleged scheme, according to the complaint.
The case is still under investigation, the FBI spokesman said.