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    Paula Deen Victim of Alleged Extortion Attempt

    Paula Deen Paul Drinkwater/NBC

    The FBI have arrested a man in New York today after he allegedly tried to extort $250,000 from Paula Deen.

    The man claimed that he would release "true and damning" statements made by the celebrity chef if she refused to pay the sum of money.

    According to a federal criminal complaint filed in the Southern District of Georgia on June 24, which TMZ has obtained, Deen's attorney went to the FBI after she received an email and follow-up phone call from a man named Thomas Paculis.

    The complaint claims Paculis made threats to go to the media with information he claimed would bring financial ruin to Deen.

    VIDEO: Watch Paula Deen's tearful Today Show interview

    Paculis was taken into custody today and will face a judge in Savannah on July 16.

    This seems to just be the latest drama swirling around the Southern chef.

    It was announced earlier today that Deen has dropped her agent following the seemingly never-ending N-word scandal.

    Per The Huffington Post, the onetime Food Network star has severed ties with New York–based Barry Weiner, who'd been working with Deen for more than 10 years and had reportedly been an integral part in helping her land the Food Network gig that would eventually make her a household name.

    VIDEO: The Soup tackles Paula Deen's fall from grace

    "Paula Deen has separated from her agent," the 66-year-old's spokeswoman said Thursday in a statement. "She and her family thank him for the tireless effort and dedication over the many years."

    It's the latest twist in an increasingly controversial debacle that saw Deen's carefully crafted empire collapse, piece by piece, after news surfaced two weeks ago that she admitted in a video deposition that she had used the N-word and that she also reportedly told jokes that were considered racist.

    PHOTOS: Paula Deen throughout the years

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