Man Sentenced in Bizarre Attempt to Kidnap, Extort Illinois Attorney

Mr. Banks reportedly planned to kill the attorney using a cat, a radio and a hot tub. CC image Screen Capture from Youtube video "Cat falls in Hot Tub" by Jeff Martin

In a story that sounds like the plot of a bad cable movie, an Illinois man was sentenced to 20 years in prison for allegedly plotting to kidnap a lawyer and hold him for ransom money.

Brett Nash, 46, received his sentence Thursday after pleading guilty to a charge of solicitation of a crime of violence late last year.

Thankfully the plot didn’t involve any of the attorneys at Appelman and Associates, but the report says Nash targeted a lawyer from Granite City, Illinois.

What puts the story over the top is the amount of information that was gathered about Nash’s kidnapping plan.  Much of the evidence used against Nash was provided by a tape recorder that was planted on a co-worker who Nash enlisted to help carry out his plan.  Some of Nash’s ridiculous plans are detailed below.

  • Nash planned to kidnap the lawyer and force him to write checks for “labor”, which Nash could then collect.
  • If the attorney wouldn’t comply, Nash planned to force the attorney to wear a fake explosive suit and walk into his bank.  The attorney would then need to withdraw all his funds or risk being blown up.  Nash said he got the idea by watching a show on the Discovery Channel.
  • Nash planned to wear makeup or a mask, saying “This is Mission Impossible (expletive)”.
  • Nash eventually planned to kill the lawyer by staging an accident involving a hot-tub, a cat, and a radio.
  • During one of the recordings, Nash told his colleague that he was willing to buy a cat, a litter box, and pet food to further his staged suicide plan.
  • Nash told the would-be accomplice they could avoid leaving behind DNA evidence by using copious amounts of hair gel to keep their hair from shedding.

Nash’s accomplice wanted no part of the operation, and he agreed to wear a recording device for the FBI.

“I’ve been playing with this for a year. Fine tunin’ this (expletive),” Nash said on the recording.

During trial, Nash’s attorney argued that the plot was too outrageous to be real.  Unfortunately for Mr. Nash, the jury didn’t see it that way.

Attorney Brett Appelman comments

Many people think that with a few simple tricks, they can steal a lot of money without being caught.  Shows like CSI and Law & Order depict mastermind criminals who use science and technology to thwart law enforcement, but some people need to be reminded that those are fictional TV shows.

This guy thought that with a few tricks he picked up from Mission Impossible and The Discovery Channel he would be able to pull off a sophisticated kidnapping, extortion, armed robbery, and possibly murder scheme.  Unfortunately for him he was brought down by the simplest and cheapest technology available these days: a recording device.  Most of the techniques depicted on these shows are not as useful in the real world as they appear to be on TV.  Hair gel will not prevent the hair on your arms or eyelashes from falling out at the crime scene, a way in which many criminals have eventually been caught.  Masks are never as effective as they seem to be on TV, and I cannot even speculate on the attempt to commit murder with a cat.

He got caught and he will be doing serious time behind bars.  Hopefully he will spend the next few years in the prison library, not in front of the TV.

Related source:  St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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