Federal prosecutors are adding a co-defendant to the case of an alleged extortionist cult leader out of New York state. Isabella Pollok helped leader Lawrence Ray manipulate and coerce college students, according to a superseding indictment in Ray’s case on Friday. Shared charges included extortion conspiracy, and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking.
From documents obtained by Law&Crime:
From in or about 2011 , up to and including at least in or about 2019, in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere, LAWRENCE RAY, a/k/a “Lawrence Grecco,” and ISABELLA POLLOK, the defendants, and others known and unknown, knowingly did combine, conspire, confederate, and agree together and with each other to commit extortion … by obtaining money and property from and with the consent of another person, which consent would have been and was induced by the wrongful use of actual and threatened force, violence, and fear…
Prosecutors first charged Ray last February for charges including force labor, and racketeering. Authorities said he made one of the women engage in prostitution, and he took $1.7 million from her. The case followed a 2019 New York Magazine exposé in which he controlled and terrorized young people. The process started when he moved in with his daughter while she was at Sarah Lawrence College.
In these accounts, he began by playing the father figure for these impressionable and vulnerable students, then domineered them in psuedo-therapeutic group meetings, manipulated them into sexual acts. He would extort victims with baseless claims they caused property damage, made them write false confessions, and bilked them out of money. Eventually, he allegedly began to turn different victims against one another, saying that one side was poisoning him and the others. (Baseless claims of poisoning are allegedly a recurring element in his life.) He denied wrongdoing in the article, and has pleaded not guilty in federal court under the original indictment.
Prosecutors now suggest the new co-defendant helped in Ray’s predatory behavior, but as far as her mother was previously concerned, Isabella Pollok was another person trapped in this manipulator’s web. Cindy Pollak, Isabella’s aunt, and the mother of another victim attempted to stage an intervention for their daughters, who were living with Ray in Piscataway, New Jersey in April 2019, according to another New York Magazine article. They had police perform a welfare check, but were told Isabella and the other woman did not want to see them. They were told they would be arrested for trespassing if they showed up again on the property.
Update – 12:27 p.m.: We added more information about Pollok.
[Screengrab via CBS New York]
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]