Tue. 10:46am: Man gets seven years for extorting priest

ASHTABULA – A northeast Ohio man will be spending the next seven years in prison for extorting more than $100,000 from an area priest.

According to state Attorney General Mike DeWine and Ashtabula County Prosecutor Thomas Sartini, Brian Gaster, 27, was sentenced to seven years in prison Friday morning. Gaster pleaded guilty to two charges of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.

Investigators said Gaster lied to the priest, of St. Joseph’s Calasanctius Parish in Jefferson, telling him that he had a seriously ill child and that a family member had been kidnapped and needed thousands of dollars for ransom.

Investigators said that over the course of a year, the priest gave Gaster $133,000 of his personal savings and parish money.