Man dressed as clown going to prison for blackmail

April 25, 2011 8:50:49 AM PDT
Despite the clown outfit, the threat was no joke. A Redwood City man who police say wore a clown suit to pick up extortion money from his immigrant relatives has been sentenced to three years in prison.

A U.S. District Judge sentenced 46-year-old Frank Salvador Solorza in Oakland last week.

Solorza was arrested in 2009 after he showed up at a San Mateo County home on a child's bike and wearing a clown suit, wig, and pirate hat.

Authorities say Solorza picked up a case he believed contained the $50,000 he demanded from his cousins, who emigrated from Mexico.

Officials say Solorza's scheme included threatening to have them deported for lying on immigration papers if they didn't pay up. He apparently wore the disguise to protect his identity from them.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports a federal jury convicted Solorza of conspiracy, impersonating an immigration officer and attempted extortion.

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