June 30, 2010 in City

Extortion suspects deny charges

By The Spokesman-Review

(Full-size photo)(All photos)

Read more about this case at the Sirens and Gavels blog.

Two federal convicts accused of trying to extort a Spokane County jailer told police they’d heard of the plan and were checking to see if the jailer was OK when they were arrested in a sting Monday.

But investigators didn’t believe Stephanie A. Strong, 28, or Douglas R. Mobley, 30, and the two appeared in Superior Court on Tuesday on a second-degree extortion charge.

Jail deputy Velven “Jack” York, a 5-year veteran, remains on paid leave as the Sheriff’s Office investigates his relationship with Strong, who he said he met while she was an inmate a couple of years ago.

When she was released from federal prison a couple of months ago after serving time for fraud and mail theft, he began giving her rides from drug rehab to a halfway house where she and Mobley lived, according to court documents.

Sheriff’s Office policy prohibits employees from contacting criminal suspects while off duty.

York received a phone call Sunday demanding $5,000 to keep his relationship with Strong a secret. He told detectives on Monday and they arranged to have York drop an envelope of paper at a downtown hamburger stand.

Strong and Mobley were arrested when police say they went to retrieve the envelope.

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