Extortionist says Awana wooed away his woman
An Indian national will be deported after finishing prison time
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The man who extorted $35,000 from Gov. Linda Lingle's former chief of staff, Bob Awana, was not motivated by money, but by revenge, the man's lawyer said.
Rajdatta Patkar was angry with Awana for using money to lure away a woman in the Philippines with whom the man was having an Internet romance, said Assistant Federal Public Defender Pamela Byrne.
A federal judge sentenced Patkar to one year in prison for extortion.
However, because he is getting credit for the time he has been in custody, Patkar has a little more than a month to go before he is released and deported to his native India.
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A man who extorted $35,000 from Gov. Linda Lingle's former chief of staff, Bob Awana, did it because he was angry at Awana for luring his girlfriend away with money and wanted revenge, the man's attorney said yesterday in federal court.
Rajdatta Patkar, 44, pleaded guilty to a single extortion charge in federal court in July. Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Michael Seabright sentenced Patkar to one year in federal prison followed by one year of supervised released.
Seabright also ordered Patkar to pay $7,348.99 in restitution.
Because Patkar will get credit for the time he has been in custody since his arrest last December, he will spend a little more than a month in federal custody before he is released and deported to India, said his lawyer, Assistant Federal Public Defender Pamela Byrne.
Patkar, an Indian national, was working in Japan when he committed the extortion and was arrested by Japanese officials on behalf of the U.S. Marshals Service.
Byrne said Patkar was having an Internet romance with a woman in the Philippines, exchanging e-mails and talking with her on the telephone daily. "He loved her, had very strong feelings for her," Byrne said.
Then, suddenly, he could not call her, and she did not respond to his e-mails, she said.
So Patkar hacked into the woman's e-mail account and the e-mail account of one of her girlfriends. In the second woman's account, Patkar discovered e-mails from a person Byrne referred to as Mr. A in which Mr. A encouraged Patkar's "girlfriend" to go with him and a friend.
"My client was beyond distraught. He just went berserk. He was extremely jealous," Byrne said.
The April 27 indictment charging Patkar with extortion refers to the victim as R.A. However, Awana has acknowledged that he was the target of the extortion. He resigned as Lingle's chief of staff two weeks before Patkar pleaded guilty. Awana could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Before Seabright handed down the sentence yesterday, Patkar addressed the court and apologized to R.A. for attempting to damage his reputation and for any stress and embarrassment his actions might have caused him and his family.
Patkar was charged with five counts of extortion for the five separate e-mails he sent to R.A. in 2005. In an agreement with the government, he pleaded guilty to one count for an e-mail he sent on Sept. 5, 2005.
He also agreed to testify or cooperate with the government in proceedings involving any possible co-defendants or others indicted later in the investigation. In court yesterday, Byrne described that part of the agreement a good-faith offer to cooperate.
In exchange, the government dropped the other four charges in the indictment yesterday.