A Ridgeland man who served as a former State Criminal Investigator has been sentenced to more than three years in the federal prison system after being found guilty of extortion.

Frank Saddler, 52, was last month by U.S. District Judge Henry T. Wingate to serve 39 months in federal prison for extortion. 

U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst, FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Freeze, and Dax Roberson, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General Southwest Regional Office made the announcement jointly shortly after Judge Wingate’s decision. 

Judge Wingate also ordered Saddler to pay $28,374.64 in restitution to the victims and to serve three years of supervised release upon completion of his prison sentence. 

Saddler was a certified law enforcement officer working for the Mississippi Department of Human Services charged with investigating criminal fraud related to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, a program funded by the United States Department of Agriculture. 

Officials say that from July 23, 2014, to June 15, 2015, Saddler extorted money from convenience store owners who had been charged with criminal violations relating to SNAP in exchange for not pursuing criminal charges against them. Saddler would tell store owners that they were paying restitution to the State of Mississippi when, in fact, they were making payments to Saddler which he deposited in his own bank account. 

The case was investigated by the Office of the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. 

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dave Fulcher.