ELIZABETH — Last week a Union Couty Grand Jury indicted a Sayerville man on 18 counts of extortion and three counts of drug possession with the intent to distribute, said Union County Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow.
According to an investigation launched earlier this year 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 paid upwards of $80,000 to Schram over a five-month period, said Romankow.
The victim went to the Garwood police department in May 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 May 17, 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.
These criminal charges are mere accusations. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Connect with NJTODAY.NET
Join NJTODAY.NET's free Email List to receive occasional updates delivered right to your email address!