A South Florida husband and wife were arrested after authorities say they tried to extort money from Home Depot over a box of files belonging to a marketing company who does business with the hardware giant.
Melissa Clark and Samuel St. Fleur, both 25, were arrested Monday on one count each of extortion and more than 50 counts of unlawful possession of the personal identification of another person, jail records showed.
According to an arrest report read by Judge John Hurley during their Tuesday morning bond court appearance, Clark and St. Fleur found the box containing files. The files were from employees who had worked for Fusion Marketing Concept Inc., said Scott Keller, owner of the company.
When they found the files, which had names, addresses, dates of birth, Social Security numbers and other personal information, they allegedly contacted Home Depot, believing the files belonged to the company.
Clark demanded $10,000 from the company, Hurley said. The company countered by offering her gift cards, but Clark refused, saying she wanted cash only or she would jeopardize the company's reputation by contacting the people in the files and telling them who was responsible for their information being misplaced, Hurley said.
But the files actually belonged to Fusion Marketing Concept Inc., in Pembroke Pines, Hurley said.
An undercover officer posing as a representative of Fusion called Clark, who again demanded $10,000 cash, Hurley said.
The officer arranged to meet with Clark at the Lauderhill Mall to exchange the cash for the files, and when she and St. Fleur showed up, they were arrested by Lauderhill Police and the U.S. Secret Service, Hurley said.
Clark and St. Fleur, who have five children together, were ordered held on $13,500 bond each during Tuesday's court appearance.
Keller said a former manager of the company had disappeared with the files. He said he was grateful they were recovered.
"At the end of the day, due diligence was done," Keller said in a phone interview Tuesday.