WYDaily.com is your source for free news and information in Williamsburg, James City & York Counties.
An FBI investigation into the case of 37-year-old man accused of extorting an attorney has resulted in a 24-month sentence.
Christopher J. Burruss, a Toano resident, pleaded guilty in October to one count of interstate threat to injure the reputation of another.
The demanding emails to his attorney began after Burruss was convicted and sentenced of eluding police and driving under the influence in New Kent County in November 2010.
He lost the subsequent hearing that alleged his attorney had mishandled the case, and then filed a complaint with the Virginia State Bar, claiming his attorney had “inappropriate communications and contact” with Burruss’ friend and another woman leading up to and after Burruss’ conviction, according to a news release from the Department of Justice.
Burruss included “several embarrassing email and text messages” between the attorney, Burruss’ friend and two other women in the complaint, according to the release.
From Jan. 23 to Jan. 26, 2014, Burruss — with the help of a friend — began sending emails demanding his attorney admit to mishandling the 2010 DUI and eluding police case and pay his legal fees, which had accumulated to nearly $20,000.
The FBI became involved after the attorney reported the emails to federal and state authorities, and Burruss was arrested in September.
Federal prosecutor Dana Boente called Burruss’ background and criminal history “breathtaking” in court documents.
She said Burruss was physically abused by his mother as a child and began a “vicious cycle of drug use” at age 15, racking up an “astounding number” of drug-related convictions along with assault, larceny, burglary, abduction, and breaking and entering charges.
Boente said in the court documents Burruss was cooperative with prosecution and accepted full responsibility for the extortion crime.