Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

May 7, 2014

Va. woman sentenced in pastor extortion plot


Bluefield Daily Telegraph

HANOVER, Va. —  A woman will spend three years in prison for an extortion plot that targeted a Hanover County youth pastor.

Thirty-four-year-old Tonya Farnsworth had pleaded guilty last October to threat to extort money.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that Farnsworth was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years in prison. Hanover County Circuit Court Judge J. Overton Harris suspended seven years of the sentence. He also ordered Farnsworth to spend 30 years on probation after she completes her sentence.

Prosecutors say Chris Allen Phillips paid Farnsworth $200 for oral sex after he answered an online ad for her services in December 2012. She later accused him of taking money from her and threatened to go public with their encounter.

Prosecutors say Phillips gave more than $176,000 to Farnsworth over a three-month period.