The Marquette residents convicted of trying to blackmail actor John Stamos are both heading to federal prison.
31–year–old Scott Sippola received the slightly more harsh sentence this morning.
He’s going to federal prison for 4 years.
After that, he has to complete 2 years of supervised release.
Sippola also has to pay a $15,000 fine.
24–year–old Allison Coss will also spend 4 years behind bars.
But she will only have to complete 1 year of supervised release, and she won’t have to pay a fine.
Sippola and Coss were convicted of trying to get $680,000 dollars from Stamos in exchange for supposedly damaging photos of him that the two said they had.
During the sentencing, federal prosecutors revealed excerpts from e–mail conversations Coss had with Stamos.
They claim Stamos wrote to her saying, “You know what this is? This is extortion.”
They say Coss replied, “I have a criminal justice degree from Northern Michigan University. I know the ropes.”
When he gave the sentences, U.S. District Judge Allen Edgar said Sippola and Coss were “two otherwise good citizens who were overcome by greed”.
Judge Edgar went on to say, “You would think that at some point, they would have stopped and said, ‘what are we doing?’, but they didn’t.”
He later added, “the idea that this was a legitimate business transaction is, to put it mildly, somewhat ludicrous, based on the facts in this case.”
Sippola and Coss claimed the affair was an attempted business deal and that while it was a mistake, not all mistakes are illegal.
Prosecutors labeled it a get–rich–quick scheme and about as classic a case of attempted extortion as you can get.
Stamos was not on hand today, but he sent a written statement that was read aloud in court.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Maarten Vermaat says Stamos expressed gratitude that Sippola’s and Coss’ crimes were taken seriously and will merit stiff punishment.
Stamos also wrote that the trial was extremely difficult for him and his family, as he was forced to watch Sippola and Coss slander him and then saw their testimony turn up in the media.
Vermaat argued during the trial that the photos Sippola and Coss claimed they had never existed, and Judge Edgar said today that he agreed.
Vermaat says that it’s an important detail and that he’s sure Stamos will be pleased to hear it.
Judge Edgar also says he’s convinced Sippola and Coss chose the $680,000 amount because Sippola owed $689,000 on his home.
The two were arrested last December.
They were convicted in July, and they will be appealing those convictions.