A Calverton man has been accused of extorting thousands of dollars from a woman in Southampton over two months by threatening to kill her ex-fiance, her friend, and her three young children, a Suffolk County prosecutor said.
The man is being held on $100,000 bail after pleading not guilty at his arraignment on 24 charges — including 16 counts of felony grand larceny — in a Suffolk County courtroom Wednesday morning.
Michael Didwell, 25, was arrested by Southampton Town police detectives on Aug. 5 after an investigation into the alleged threats, said town police Sgt. Susan Ralph.
Mr. Didwell was led out into the courtroom Wednesday in a green jumpsuit as his family members looked on. County assistant district attorney Mary Skiber said Mr. Didwell made phone calls and met his victim in person to carry out the extortion plot.
Mr. Didwell allegedly told the victim that “he and his boys would shoot and kill her ex-fiance and best friend,” Ms. Skiber said in court. Mr. Didwell later expanded his threats to the woman’s children, she said.
“Because she was so fearful of this defendant, on eight separate occasions this female victim paid $800,” Ms. Skiber said.
She added that police were able to obtain two recorded conversations, one over the phone and one in person, between the victim and Mr. Didwell in which he discussed payments and continued to threaten his victim.
Prosecutors also say Mr. Didwell gave a full confession in writing following his arrest. He was charged with 16 counts of felony grand larceny and another eight counts of misdemeanor petit larceny, according to online court records.
Mr. Didwell’s attorney, Daniel Rodgers of Southampton, said his client would not object to five orders of protection that were issued against him by Justice John Collins.
Mr. Rodgers added that Mr. Didwell was currently in a mental health unit while in jail custody.
“We believe it’s a very serious allegation, it’s a serious case, and we’ll have to review all the facts,” Mr. Rodgers said after the court appearance.
Mr. Didwell is due back in court in Central Islip before Judge Fernando Camacho on Sept. 25.