ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. – A former Blackwater USA employee was charged with trying to extort $1 million from the security company by threatening to leak information about four contractors killed in Iraq.
Laura Holdren-Nowacki, 35, of Moyock, was charged Monday with one count of extortion, Camden County Sheriff Tony Perry said. She was released on a $15,000 unsecured bond and has a court appearance Friday.
Perry said Holdren-Nowacki, a former fleet vehicle manager for Blackwater, threatened to release documents about the contractors' deaths to the media, members of Congress and family members of the dead men. She wanted executives to pay her $1 million in exchange for her silence, the sheriff said.
"She didn't have any information," Perry said. "She was trying to make Blackwater think she had sensitive, pertinent documents and important information that would hurt them."
Holdren-Nowacki said the extortion allegations are untrue. She also said she has information related to the deaths of four security guards working under contract with Blackwater who were killed in Fallujah, Iraq, in May 2004.
After their deaths, the Blackwater contractors' bodies were mutilated and the charred remains were strung up on a bridge. The men's families have sued Blackwater, alleging that the contractors weren't properly equipped or trained for their mission.
"I will be more than happy to talk to media after my court appearance on Friday," Holdren-Nowacki said. "I've got a lot to say and some of it will be of interest to the family members of the contractors who died."
Her employment with Blackwater ended in April. Associate counsel Andy Howell declined to say whether Holdren-Nowacki quit or was fired.
Blackwater provides security for State Department officials in Iraq, trains military units from around the world, and does work for corporate clients.