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Wilson woman guilty of attempted extortion

MADISON - A Wilson woman pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to emailing a threat intended to extort $25,000 from an area man.

On Sept. 20, 2010, JoAnn Milovich, 41, sent a text message to a man identified only as M.W., threatening to pay a woman to go to a hospital and claim she was raped by M.W., said Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Anderson.

In the phone text message that was converted to gmail, Milovich stated that she would pay the woman $1,000 to falsely tell hospital staff that M.W. had raped her, said Anderson.

Sending a communication intended to injure another's reputation or falsely accuse them of committing a crime is a felony punishable by a maximum a two-year prison term, said Anderson.

M.W. didn't know Milovich before he began receiving text messages and phone calls from her about Sept. 10, 2010, Anderson said.

"He (M.W.) said he never met her, but she got information about him from a blog or some communication over the internet, then deduced where he worked...ran his name through the internet white pages to get his telephone number and was able to contact him," said Anderson.

Anderson said he doubted there was any direct communication between M.W. and Milovich before she pieced together how to contact him.

"That's why we caution kids, particularly, not to put much personal information on Facebook or on the 'net because bad people see it and can put the bits and pieces together," said Anderson.

Milovich initially sent M.W. texts demanding money or she would make false accusations to his employer that could get him fired. When M.W. was slow to respond to the threats, Milovich sent the rape accusation text, said Anderson.

Instead of paying any money, M.W. notified the Eau Claire County Sheriff's Department which contacted the FBI. Milovich's text messages were routed through Google's servers located outside of Wisconsin giving federal jurisdiction to the case.

A search warrant executed at Milovich's residence obtained evidence of her communications with M.W. as well as phone calls she made to M.W. that were recorded.

District Judge Barbara Crabb found Milovich guilty and set sentencing for May 15. Milovich was released on conditions including no computer access without supervision by a pre-trial services staff.