Judge orders 4 years in prison for Mich. couple convicted in John Stamos extortion schemeBy AP
Friday, October 8, 2010
Mich. couple gets 4 years in prison in Stamos case
MARQUETTE, Mich. — A Michigan couple convicted of trying to extort $680,000 out of “Glee” actor John Stamos were each sentenced Friday to four years in prison.
Allison Coss and Scott Sippola were hoping to receive sentences of less than two years in prison, but U.S. District Judge R. Allan Edgar ordered a stiffer punishment.
They were convicted in July of conspiracy and using e-mail to threaten a person’s reputation. Coss, 24, and Sippola, 31, threatened to sell old photos of Stamos with strippers and cocaine to the tabloids unless he paid up.
The FBI said such photos didn’t exist. Edgar agreed and said Coss lied about the photos during her testimony at the summer trial in Marquette, in the state’s Upper Peninsula.
Stamos met Coss in Orlando, Fla., in 2004 when she was 17 years old. It was shortly after he had separated from his wife, supermodel Rebecca Romijn.
Coss testified that Stamos snorted cocaine, sat nude in a hot tub with the scantily clothed teenager, and made sexual advances as they kissed while lying on a bed. He denied it.
Stamos, 47, starred on “ER” and “Full House” and now plays a dentist on Fox’s hit musical “Glee.” He was not in court Friday but a statement from him was read aloud. He called the couple’s actions “reprehensible.”
“The defendants’ strategy consisted of lying and inventing stories at trial in a bid to confuse and incite the jury,” Stamos wrote. “I was forced to watch (Coss) slander me at trial with impunity while the press reported their fabricated allegations.”
Coss was crying and too upset to speak to the judge before getting her sentence, which was near the low end of the guidelines. She and Sippola were chained at the wrists and ankles as they were taken away by deputy marshals.
In a court document filed this week, Sippola apologized and said his “conduct was awful.”
“I sought to exploit my knowledge of the personal weaknesses of a perfect stranger for my own undeserved financial gain,” he said. “I would be angry and hurt if that had happened to me and I am certain that Mr. Stamos feels that way towards me.”
Coss and Sippola were arrested last December at an Upper Peninsula airport after Stamos reported the extortion attempt to authorities.
Investigators said they had more than one scheme before settling on photos. At trial, Coss admitted sending e-mails under another name claiming to be a teen impregnated by the actor.
Tags: Arts And Entertainment, Celebrity, Extortion And Threats, Marquette, Michigan, North America, United States