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Lowell man sentenced for trying to extort Boston celebrity

A Lowell man who tried to extort a Boston celebrity in 2012 received a two-year prison term today for that offense and an unrelated gun conviction.

With his family looking on, Felix Paulino, 36, cried during his sentencing hearing in federal court in Boston as he asked the celebrity for forgiveness.

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The victim did not attend the sentencing. Authorities have not released his name.

“First and foremost, I would like to apologize to the victim and the victim’s family,” Paulino said. “He’s a great role model and a great person.”

According to court records and authorities, Paulino contacted the victim’s agent in the fall of 2012 and threatened to leak a video of the married man flirting with women at a Boston nightclub unless the celebrity paid him $20,000. Paulino received no money.

An FBI agent later testified that the video in question merely showed the victim “mingling with patrons in the club, shaking hands, and departing the club shortly thereafter.”

When Paulino was arrested several months later, officials found a small handgun in his car, which he said he needed for protection after his vehicle had been shot at, according to records and his lawyer.

Paulino was a convicted felon at the time and was barred from possessing a gun.

Court records said the celebrity was the subject of “media reports in both newspapers and on television” about his “financial information” during the fall of 2012.

Federal prosecutors had asked for a 30-month prison term, though Assistant US Attorney Nadine Pellegrini made no argument in favor of the higher sentence during today’s hearing.

Paulino’s relatives -- including his mother, grandmother, and teenaged daughter -- attended the sentencing and had no comment outside the court.

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