GARWOOD — Authorities arrested a Sayerville man on Monday and charged him with second degree extortion and drug offenses, said Union County Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow.
According to an investigation launched by Special Prosecutions Unit of the Union County Prosecutor’s Office and the Garwood Police Department, Edward Schram, 34, had been extorting large sums of money from an elderly victim who lives in Garwood, said Romankow.
Schram, a suspected member of the Bloods street gang, repeatedly threatened the victim with bodily harm from fellow gang members unless the victim made regular payments “for protection,” said Romankow.
Authorities believe the victim might have paid upwards of $50,000 to Schram over a five-month period, said Romankow.
The victim went to the Garwood police department on Sunday morning to report the extortion and asked for help from authorities. An investigation was immediately launched and Schram was subsequently arrested in Rahway en route to a friend’s house on Monday afternoon, said Romankow.
At the time of his arrest Schram had a significant quantity of illegal drugs in his possession. He is being held at the Union County Jail on $190,000 bail.
“No one deserves to be taken advantage of,” said Romankow. “This case should serve as a deterrent to those who seek to extort innocent victims and as a shot of courage for anyone who may be victimized in the same way. The authorities are here to help and no one should have to live in fear.”
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