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3 men are sentenced in bank extortion scheme

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — Three men received sentences on Friday ranging from 15 to 52 years in prison for abducting the families of female bank managers and holding them hostage in an extortion scheme that netted $1.5 million.

John Crisp, and Thomas Nichols, both of Greenback; and Carlton Smith, of Dunlap, were convicted in October of conspiracy to commit bank extortion. The robberies were committed in 1995 and 1996.

In all three heists, the men targeted female bank managers who were married. In each case, the couple was abducted at home, the husband and wife then held separately, and the bank manager told a bomb had been strapped to the back of her husband.

In the morning, the bank manager was forced to drive to her bank, empty the vault and drop the cash at a prearranged location in exchange for her husband's safe return.