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Queens DA charges man in Lil’ Kim jewelry extortion

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A New Rochelle man was charged Monday with attempting to extort money from rapper Lil’ Kim in exchange for returning the $250,000 in baubles that were stolen out of the performer’s luggage at Kennedy Airport last month.

John Acheson, 31, surrendered to law enforcement officials Monday and was placed under arrest for allegedly demanding $25,000 in exchange for Lil’ Kim’s diamond-encrusted “Queen Bee” necklace and other jewelry that was missing, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

“The defendant tried to extort $25,000 from rapper Lil’ Kim by phoning her attorney, claiming that he had her missing necklace and asserting that he would return the necklace if he were paid $5,000 up front and the balance of $20,000 at a meeting,” Brown said.

Acheson, of New Rochelle, N.Y., turned himself in Monday after he learned he was being actively sought for arrest, Brown said. He was charged with two counts of attempted grand larceny and attempted coercion and could face up to four years in prison if convicted.

It was unclear if Acheson was involved in the theft of the rapper’s jewelry June 20.

Lil’ Kim, 27, whose real name is Kimberly Jones, was catching an 8:45 a.m. flight from Kennedy Airport to Los Angeles June 20 when there was a mix-up at the United Airlines check-in counter, Brown said. Lil’ Kim planned to carry a Louis Vuitton bag filled with about $500,000 in jewelry onto the plane with her, but the bag was checked with her other luggage instead.

Lil’ Kim realized the bag was missing before take-off, and the flight was delayed while it was retrieved from the baggage hold, Brown said. When the bag was returned to the rapper, two of her signature necklaces were missing — a diamond and gold pendant featuring a “B” topped with a crown to represent her “Queen Bee” record label, and her platinum dog tags filled with yellow diamonds, Brown said. The necklaces were valued at $250,000. Other baubles were left in the bag.

The jewelry was found wrapped in a rag inside a locker in the United Airlines employee area last week, Brown said.

On June 23, the day the theft was reported in newspapers, Acheson allegedly contacted Lil’ Kim’s lawyer, Mel Sachs, and said he had the necklace and would return it for a total of $25,000, Brown said.

Reach reporter Courtney Dentch by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

Posted 7:16 pm, October 10, 2011
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