EAST ST. LOUIS, Illinois -- A Pontoon Beach man has pleaded not guilty to federal charges after being accused of participating in a foiled plot to abduct, extort and electrocute a wealthy man and blame the death on the would-be victim's cat.
Brett Nash, 45, is charged with attempted extortion by threatening physical violence.
A judge in East St. Louis scheduled an April 30 trial for Nash on felonies linked to the scheme, which authorities thwarted in January.
A criminal complaint identifies the plot's target as a former corporate attorney in Granite City.
Authorities said one plan Nash explored involved forcing the intended victim into a hot tub. He then would electrocute him with a radio tossed into the water along with the cat to make it look like the animal was the culprit in the killing.
The charge carries a possible 20 years in prison and $250,000 fine.