I-Team: Man accused of extorting money from employer said he went to FBI first

BLUE ASH, Ohio -- As Blue Ash police said they were dealing with a man who showed up at his workplace with a gun and demanded money, the FBI was calling the police department to relay information about the man. 

The timing was apparently coincidental, according to Blue Ash Police Chief Scott Noel. 

"They were giving us the information in a timely manner," he said. "It wasn't the FBI withholding information."

But documents in the case of Justin Kremer -- who was indicted on charges of aggravated robbery, robbery and extortion on Friday -- raise questions about what the FBI knew and when, at a time when the bureau is under scrutiny for failing to act on a tip about the 19-year-old accused of killing 17 people in a shooting at a Florida high school. 

Kremer, 32, is accused of walking into Coordinated Financial Planning on West Lake Forest Drive in Blue Ash on Feb. 23 with a gun and demanding money.

"He has (a concealed carry weapons permit). When you make statements and other things like he did, I believe he will have some legal issues as a result," Noel said. "His business allows them to carry, but I doubt it allows them to threaten other employees with it."

Kremer told his boss it was his last day and he wanted $250,000 then and another $250,000 in six weeks in exchange for not releasing emails to clients he said would be damaging to the business, investigators said in court records.

The 911 caller, another Coordinated Financial Planning employee, told the emergency dispatcher Kremer had an emotional breakdown the week before and was a "conspiracy theorist" who'd been on an "emotional roller coaster all week."

Police arrest Justin Kremer (Photo provided by Tracy McCoy)

Noel estimated 15 or 20 police officers from Blue Ash and surrounding communities responded to the office building. He said officers quickly secured each floor of the building and Kremer complied with the officers' commands. They arrested him.

In addition to the handgun Kremer was accused of bringing inside, police said they found a shotgun, machete and two full rifle magazines in his car. Authorities also found an AR-15 rifle and part of a second AR-15 rifle in Kremer's Villa Hills, Kentucky home, according to police records. 

"I don't know what his ultimate intent was in this situation, but with all of the things going on in the United States and all the active shooter situations and workplace violence, those are certainly some ingredients that would need to be present for one of those things to happen," Noel said.

Kremer told officers that he had spoken to the FBI twice that day, according to an incident report. In a petition seeking an order of protection, Kremer's wife wrote that he had been acting strangely for at least five days before, including sending a 175-page email to the FBI, which also got sent to their daughter and automatically copied to her.

In the week before the incident at the office, Kremer told his wife that he had also sent that lengthy document to the FBI. She wrote in the court filing that Kremer went to the FBI claiming she, her father, his employers and fellow employees "were after him." 

It's unclear exactly when Kremer sent the email. But after FBI officials admitted last month that they failed to act on a tip about the suspect in the Parkland, Florida school shooting, the timing raises questions. 

Cincinnati FBI officials declined to sit down for an interview, but spokesperson Todd Lindgren gave the following statement:

"The FBI has standard procedures in place when information is received from the public. Whenever public safety concerns exist, appropriate law enforcement agencies are notified."

Noel also had no complaints about communication between his department and the bureau. 

"We have a very, very good relationship with our local FBI office," he said. "I can call them any day with a question, with a comment, with a concern and they are very receptive and help us in any way they can."

Kremer is being held in the Hamilton County Justice Center with bond set at $310,000. His next court hearing is scheduled for March 9. 

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