While suicide caused by a Sponsor upon a Sponcee in Alcoholics Anonymous seems like it would be more prevalent, this is the story of a Sponsor named Dan Kreye, one of the founders of High Five Erectors Inc., a steel-construction company in Shakopee, Minnesota who took his own life because of a $500,000 extortion scheme Shannon Gura pulled on him in May of 2010 with the help of "friends." This is what happens when you mix the criminal element recruited from jails and prisons during "correction committee" prospect hunts to grow the membership of AA and high net worth Sponsors fall prey to low net worth Sponcees. I am sure this happens more than we are led to believe because of the Bob Ryder, Lewiston, Maine type of "confidentiality agreement" between the members of Alcoholics Anonymous and law enforcement.
The kicker in this case is that she only received a 90 Day Sentence on this because she was only convicted of coercion. She also tried to call Kreye to extort more money after his suicide because she didn't know about it.
Woman sentenced in extortion plot behind suicide
Article by: ABBY SIMONS , Star Tribune Updated: August 4, 2011 - 11:20 PM
Shannon Gura got 90 days in the workhouse for her role in a scheme that led a Bloomington man to kill himself.
A woman who played an integral role in an extortion plot that led a Bloomington man to kill himself told a Hennepin County judge Thursday that she was frightened and intimidated by the scheme's alleged mastermind, whose violence she had seen and at times experienced.
"I should have gone to the police, but I was afraid," Shannon Gura said of Rickey Pouncil during her sentencing for felony coercion. "I've seen this man put women's heads through walls. I've seen him put Crown Royal bottles over women's heads."
Gura, 27, who wiped her eyes with a purple scarf throughout the sentencing hearing, expressed remorse for her role in the May 2010 suicide of Daniel Kreye, 57.
For the past year, she said, she's been clean from drugs and alcohol, works, volunteers and raises her young son, who is "the only thing I have."
She broke down into sobs when District Judge Philip Bush sentenced her to 90 days in the Hennepin County workhouse. With good behavior and credit for jail time already served, she should be released in 41 days. She had previously pleaded guilty and cooperated with prosecutors.
Bush called her involvement in the scheme that took at least $64,000 from Kreye, leading to his May 2010 suicide, "significant."
"You also were a very active and key part in that," the judge said. "Without your involvement, this whole thing may not have started."
According to charges, Gura and Pouncil, 46, an alleged pimp from Rosemount, blackmailed Kreye, who befriended Gura through Alcoholics Anonymous, for at least $64,000 by threatening to reveal an explicit photo and text messages to his wife of 31 years.
Kreye shot himself at the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge and left a note saying, "I am being extorted over $500,000. Best for my family and friends."
Days later Christina Artac, 32, a former prostitute, called his home pretending to be Gura in hopes of extorting more money and unaware that he had already taken his life.
Artac and Gura testified against Pouncil in a pre-sentencing hearing last month, painting him as the scheme's mastermind. All three pleaded guilty to felony coercion.
Gura and Artac both received stayed sentences. If they stay out of trouble for the next three years, they will be convicted of a misdemeanor.
Pouncil maintained that he only drove Gura to a parking lot to meet Kreye and acted as a bodyguard while she extorted the money. He is scheduled for sentencing Aug. 16. Kreye's family was not at either woman's sentencing but is expected to attend Pouncil's.
Gura is scheduled to report to the workhouse in two weeks. Though she has remorse, she said, she, like Artac, has taken steps to turn her life around and surround herself with a supportive, sober community.
"I get to wake up with a sense of pride and a sense of hope," she said. "I understand what I did, and I should have said no."
Abby Simons • 612-673-4921
Even more of the story where Gura threatened to expose Kreye to his wife AND Alcoholics Anonymous
Woman involved in extortion-turned-suicide pleads guilty
Article by: ABBY SIMONS , Star Tribune Updated: October 8, 2010 - 8:52 PM
Bloomington man killed himself as the result of the demands for hush money.
A woman involved in an extortion scheme that ended with the suicide of a Bloomington husband and father pleaded guilty Friday to felony coercion and agreed to testify against the alleged pimp accused of initiating the scheme.
Shannon Gura, 26, of Huntsville, Ala., entered the plea in Hennepin County District Court, dabbing her eyes with a tissue as she detailed how she befriended Daniel L. Kreye, 57, in Alcoholics Anonymous and eventually helped blackmail him by threatening to reveal an explicit photo and text messages to his wife of 31 years.
"I told him what was going to happen, or I was going to take the evidence and expose it to his family and to AA," said Gura, who wore her red hair piled atop her head, exposing a tattoo behind her left ear.
"And that would humiliate him, wouldn't it?" asked her attorney, Todd Kenyon.
Gura paused and nodded, her voice barely above a whisper.
Kreye shot himself May 10 at a wildlife refuge, leaving behind a note that said "I am being extorted over $500,000. Best for my family and friends."
In exchange for Gura's plea and her agreement to testify against alleged pimp Rickey Pouncil, prosecutors agreed to drop a second charge against her. Pouncil, 46, is scheduled to be tried in February on two counts of felony coercion. A third defendant, alleged prostitute Christina Artac, 32, pleaded guilty to attempted coercion and also agreed to testify against Pouncil.
A coercion conviction carries a sentence of up to five years. Prosecutors have yet to recommend whether Gura receives probation or prison time.
Although the criminal complaint said Gura also was a prostitute, she didn't describe herself as one in court. Gura explained that she met Kreye at AA when she was battling addictions to cocaine and alcohol. They had been friends about four years when Gura met Pouncil on New Year's Eve 2008.
The two became friends and had a brief relationship, during which Pouncil asked about Kreye. In August of that year, Pouncil came up with the idea to blackmail him, Gura said.
She described how Pouncil wrote messages for her to text to Kreye, and checked to make sure she sent them.
"He was always making sure I'd follow through on what it was he needed to do," she said.
The two printed out the text messages and Kreye's responses, along with an explicit photograph. Then they met Kreye at Manny's Steakhouse in downtown Minneapolis.
After dinner, Gura handed Kreye an envelope with the evidence and a demand for $65,000. A week later, he delivered the cash to her in Burnsville, and she gave it to Pouncil. Gura said that for her efforts, Pouncil gave her two purses and rings, which she later sold.
"At the time, it wasn't too clear that he was a pimp, per se, and [that] his role was using women to get money out of people," Gura said. "He used me and Kreye as a way to make money for himself."
Not long afterward, Gura moved to Huntsville, and Pouncil contacted her again, proposing that they continue extorting money from Kreye.
Trying to avoid exposure, Kreye withdrew $350,000 from his and his wife's home equity line of credit, according to charges against Pouncil. Kreye also borrowed $200,000 from a business partner, claiming he assaulted someone and needed to keep it quiet by paying the person's medical bills. No such incident occurred, police said.
Charges say that when police went to Kreye's home to notify family members of his death, his wife reported that she and the couple's daughter had received suspicious phone calls earlier that day from a man who called himself Tony Nelson. The man, calling from a number listed to Pouncil, claimed to have missed a meeting with Kreye.
In the days after Kreye's death, the family received numerous calls and visits from Pouncil, Artac and another man, Jordan Rognund. Charges were filed against Rognund but later dismissed.
Rognund told police that he learned that Kreye was having relationships with prostitutes and didn't want his family to find out.
Abby Simons • 612-673-4921
13-month sentence in deadly extortion scheme for co-conspirator Rickey Pouncil (the Pimp?)
13-month sentence in deadly extortion scheme
Daniel Kreye killed himself as a result of the blackmail. Rickey Pouncil extorted as much as $500,000 from him.
Article by: ABBY SIMONS , Star Tribune
Updated: August 16, 2011 - 10:38 PM
Tears didn't flow when Susan Kreye told Rickey Pouncil how her life had changed since her husband's suicide.
She didn't cry as she testified about the betrayal she felt, or how she had to sell the Bloomington house where they raised their two children. She explained how she was drowning in debt after Pouncil extorted as much as $500,000 from Daniel Kreye until Kreye shot himself, leaving a note saying it was "best for my family and friends." She stopped briefly in Hennepin County District Court Tuesday to compose herself before speaking of her 4-year-old granddaughter who asks when Grandpa is coming home.
Only when deputies snapped handcuffs around Pouncil's wrists and led him away to serve a 13-month prison sentence for coercion did Susan Kreye smile.
"That's good," she told supporters, an arm around her weeping daughter.
Pouncil, 47, pleaded guilty this summer to felony coercion for a nine-month extortion scheme that netted at least $165,000 from 57-year-old Kreye before he killed himself in May at the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Pouncil must also pay $165,000 in restitution -- the amount prosecutors can prove was taken, although they believe it's much more.
Two women, Shannon Gura, 27, and Christina Artac, 32, pleaded guilty in connection with the scheme and testified against Pouncil at a pre-sentencing hearing. Gura, who pleaded guilty to coercion, received a stayed three-year sentence and 90 days in the Hennepin County Workhouse. Artac, who pleaded guilty to attempted coercion, also received a stayed three-year sentence and is serving 90 days in the workhouse.
Both painted Pouncil as an intimidator and ringleader of the scheme that began when Gura befriended Daniel Kreye through Alcoholics Anonymous and later met Pouncil, who allegedly came up with the idea to blackmail Kreye, founder of a steel construction company. Pouncil threatened to reveal explicit photos and text messages Kreye had exchanged with Gura.
Days after the suicide, Artac called Daniel Kreye's home pretending to be Gura in hopes of extorting more money, unaware that he had already taken his life.
When he pleaded guilty, Pouncil maintained that he only drove Gura to a parking lot to meet Kreye and acted as a bodyguard while she extorted the money.
Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Emery Adoradio urged a longer sentence than the state recommendation, a stayed 13-month sentence, because the crime involved a major economic offense and three or more people took part.
Hennepin County District Judge Philip Bush agreed to a 13-month prison sentence based on the major economic offense. He said there was no proof that three or more people were involved because Artac's role in the scheme was minimal. The suicide, although tragic, was not a factor that would justify a longer sentence, Bush ruled. The judge told Pouncil that if he weren't limited by state guidelines, he would have given him more prison time.
"It's clear to me your actions were driven by greed, and you found a way to prey upon Daniel Kreye's weaknesses," Bush said.
Pouncil, his large arms crossed in front of his chest, delivered a flat "No." when asked if he wanted to address the court or Kreye's family.
Susan Kreye said afterward that she wants her husband to be remembered not for the way he died, but as a good man who loved his family and was dedicated to his friends and his church.
She doubts she will see any restitution, and doesn't blame the women involved. They were afraid of Pouncil and intimidated. As for Pouncil, she said, 13 months isn't enough:
"It would be nice if his sentence equaled what mine has been."
Abby Simons • 612-673-4921
The Controlling Intergroup for this Area is http://www.area36.org/
Southern Minnesota Alcoholics Anonymous Area 36
P.O. Box 2812
Minneapolis, MN 55402
Contact the Corrections Chair
Southern Minnesota Alcoholics Anonymous Area (SMAA)
P.O. Box 2812
Minneapolis, MN 55402