SC man accused of blackmailing woman out of $18K, pretending to hold gun to her head

SC man accused of blackmailing woman out of $18K, pretending to hold gun to her head

ORANGEBURG, S.C. — An investigator said a woman swindled out of $18,000 became so paranoid someone was going to attack her that she didn't even want to be interviewed in a room with windows.

A judge ordered Mike Phillips to serve five years in prison for blackmail after he pleaded guilty Tuesday in Orangeburg County.

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The Times and Democrat of Orangeburg report that authorities determined Phillips convinced the woman she could get custody of her daughter during a divorce if she hired a private investigator.

Prosecutors said Phillips created a character named "Trell" who demanded money from the victim and even pretended to hold a gun against her head.

Police began investigating after the woman told workers at a mental hospital why she cut both her arms.

Phillips apologized before he was sentenced.

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