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Man guilty of extortion threat targeting elderly friend sentenced to prison

A man who threatened an elderly friend in hopes of extorting money from him was sentenced Tuesday to 37 months in federal prison and ordered to repay $130,000 to the victim.

Brian Morath, 35, of the Town of Tonawanda, blamed his criminal conduct on his drug abuse and told U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara that he feels “terribly for what I’ve done.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel A. Violanti reminded the judge that the victim, identified only as H.L., was terrorized by Morath and feared for his life.

Morath’s prison sentence - he previously pleaded guilty to threat by interstate commerce - is the result of an investigation by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority and the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force.