Former Coast Guard Petty Officer Guilty of Extortion

DETROIT – A former Coast Guard petty officer has pleaded guilty to extorting $35,000 from a Detroit-area illegal immigrant who was trying to avoid deportation.

The European immigrant lived in the same Macomb neighborhood as Benjamin Bostic. Authorities say he promised he could change records in exchange for money.

When Bostic demanded more money in 2007, the immigrant and his companion went to investigators. The evidence included a series of recorded phone calls.

“He was extorting money from them knowing he couldn’t really do anything for them,” said John Tiano, who leads the Detroit office of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general.

Bostic, 36, pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court and faces up to three years in prison. He was discharged from the Coast Guard in October. He declined to comment Thursday.

“It’s easy prey,” Tiano said in an interview. “You’ve got people who can’t speak good English. They see badges and guns and want help. The dirty ones take the money.”

The original Coast Guard News article.

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