Indianapolis woman sentenced for conspiracy to commit extortion

URBANA — An Indianapolis woman has been sentenced to 60 days in jail for her role in conspiring to extort $20,000 from a Champaign area man.

On Friday, Chief U.S. District Judge Michael P. McCuskey sentenced Angela Lanning, 33, of Indianapolis, to 60 days in jail, followed by three years of supervised release, for conspiracy to commit extortion.

Lanning had pleaded guilty to the charge on June 3, 2011.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Eugene Miller, who prosecuted the case, had asked for six months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, with a special condition that she not be allowed to work in the adult entertainment field while on supervised release.

According to court documents and statements made in court, John J. Kochowiec, 38, of Indianapolis, learned that the Champaign area man was meeting periodically in Indianapolis with Lanning, a woman with whom he had a previous relationship. The Champaign man had met Lanning while she was working at a dance club in Indianapolis in November 2007.

Kochowiec began calling the victim, sending him text messages and mailing him letters from September through December 2009, threatening to tell the victim's wife about his relationship with the Indianapolis dancer unless the victim gave him $20,000.

After the victim told his story to the Champaign County sheriff's office, an investigator began using an undercover email account to send messages to Kochowiec, pretending to be the victim.

Then, on Feb. 5, 2010, the victim met Lanning in the parking lot of a Danville restaurant to give her the $20,000. The woman was arrested when she began to leave.

Kochowiec was placed in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service after he was arrested on July 5, 2011. He pleaded guilty on Sept. 2, 2011, to one count of conspiracy to commit extortion, and was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison.

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