By Victor Ochieng
Court documents show that a former tech executive was swindled out of $2.6 million by a stripper, Jessica Tackett, in collusion with her family. It involved blackmail, coercion, and lies to have the exec pay up.
The exec had paid Jessica for intimacy in 2008 and later paid both Jessica and her teen cousin for a threesome.
And who’s the exec? It’s 61-year-old Paul Vagnozzi, the former owner of Cypress Corp., a tech company based in Rochester Hills.
Jessica’s dad, Terry Tackett, who’s now 52, later found out about the threesome and decided to approach Vagnozzi after they thought of a master plan to extort money from him.
Tackett made Vagnozzi believe that Jessica’s cousin was a minor. Nobody of the exec’s caliber would want to be charged with getting involved with a minor; the law doesn’t smile about it and one’s reputation goes to the drain in seconds.
It was a properly organized plan that involved the stripper, her dad, who’s a former businessman, and the cousin. They told the Vagnozzi that they had a tape of him making out with the girls and that he had to part with money for them to keep it secret.
Records show that they made several reminder and threatening phone calls, including the father telling Vagnozzi that he would report him to the police or go as far as sending his crew of motorcycle club members to Vagnozzi’s home if he failed to pay.
“Terry Tackett threatened … he would go to the police and report said alleged crime, cause physical harm to (the businessman), or have alleged associates of his in the ‘mafia’ or ‘Jokers Motorcycle Club’ cause physical harm …,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Straus wrote in the indictment.
Investigations later revealed that the cousin was actually not underage at the time of the act as alleged. She was either 17 or 18, meaning she wasn’t a minor, according to the laws of Michigan, which sets the age of a minor to 16 and below.
“They set him up,” Raymond Cassar, the defense attorney said. “They convinced him that he may have had a relationship with a minor. And with a lot of threats and a lot of coercion, they got $2.6 million out of this good man, a really good man.”
Vagnozzi has however said that he move on already.
“I’ve moved on,” he told the News. “I don’t really want to say anything.”