Ohio couple pleads guilty in West Virginia extortion case

WHEELING (AP) — An Ohio couple has pleaded guilty to extorting nearly $1 million from a woman who had embezzled the money from a West Virginia college.

U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld says 31-year-old Jason Kirkland Weese and 26-year-old Rachaelle Marie Weese of East Liverpool, Ohio, pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court in Wheeling. Jason Weese also pleaded guilty to money laundering.

According to prosecutors, Bethany College cashier Shelly Lough of Wheeling exchanged sexually explicit messages and images with Jason Weese. Lough embezzled from the college to pay off Weese and his wife after they threatened to give the images and messages to her husband.

Lough is serving two to 20 years after pleading guilty to embezzlement and falsifying accounts.

Jason Weese faces up to 40 years and Rachaelle Weese up to 20 years.

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