Traverse City Resort Owner Charged in Extortion Plot
The Michigan Department of Attorney General today charged Traverse City resort owner Bryan Punturo, 58 of Williamsburg, with one count of Felony Extortion after threatening to allegedly run a parasailing company out of business if he was not paid thousands of dollars.
In the summer of 2014, Bryan Punturo allegedly threatened to run the owner of a local parasailing company out of business unless he was paid $19,000 per year. Punturo allegedly threatened that he had both the people and the resources to ensure the parasailing company went out of business. The victim paid thousands in the alleged extortion plot, in fear of losing his business.
In August of 2015, an attorney for the victim contacted the Department of Attorney General regarding the extortion plot. An investigation was opened by the Department of Attorney General and led to evidence that resulted in the charges filed today.
Punturo was arraigned today before Judge Thomas Phillips of the 86th District Court. Bond was set at $100,000/personal recognizance with additional conditions including not leaving the state without prior approval of the court.
Punturo’s next court appearance is scheduled for May 23, 2016 at the 86th District Court. If convicted, Punturo faces up to 20 years in prison or up to a $10,000 fine.
“Extortion is illegal, plain and simple,” said Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette. “The actions allegedly taken here were a threat to another person’s livelihood and are not a good business practice.”