Garwood Man Pleads Guilty To Extortion

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ELIZABETH — A Garwood man who is a suspected member of the Bloods street gang pleaded guilty last week to extortion and possession of illegal drugs and will be sentenced to more than six years in state prison, Union County Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow said.

An investigation launched earlier this year by Special Prosecutions Unit of the Union County Prosecutor’s Office and the Garwood Police Department revealed that Edward Schram, 34, had been extorting large sums of money from an elderly victim who lives in Garwood, Assistant Prosecutor Bart T. East said.

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Beginning in January, Schram repeatedly threatened the victim with bodily harm from fellow gang members unless the victim made regular payments “for protection,” said East.

Authorities believe the victim paid upwards of $80,000 to Schram over a five-month period, said East.

In May, the victim went to the Garwood police department to report the extortion and asked for help from authorities. An investigation was immediately launched and Schram was subsequently arrested in Rahway while en route to a friend’s house on May 17, said East. At the time of his arrest Schram was in possession of a large quantity of illegal drugs and proceeds from his most recent extortion of the victim, said East.

In October, Schram was indicted by a Union County Grand Jury on 18 counts of extortion and drug possession in October. He is scheduled to be sentenced before Union County Superior Court Judge Joseph P. Perfilio on March 18, 2011.


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