Blackmailers claimed to be from the UVF as part of attempts to get a businessman to hand over £6,000, the High Court has heard.
Death threats against the Co Antrim-based victim and warnings that devices would be planted outside his house were phoned to the Samaritans, prosecutors said.
Details emerged as bail was refused to one of two men accused of involvement in the plot.
William Robinson (37), of Beechwood Drive, Balnamore, Ballymoney, faces charges of blackmail and intimidation on dates between last November and January. Prosecution counsel Philip Henry told the court Robinson is not believed to have any links to the UVF and could have put his own safety at risk by using its name.
It was claimed £6,000 was demanded from the businessman and a meeting was arranged at a car park in Cloughmills.
The court heard that a co-accused dressed in a camouflage jacket and with a scarf over his face took £500 from the victim as a first instalment. However, arrests were made after police became involved.
Opposing bail, Mr Henry claimed there was a risk of interference with the course of justice if Robinson was released.
Dennis Boyd, defending, claimed that Robinson was only at the car park on the day of the alleged rendezvous to look at two vans for sale.
Mr Justice Stephens refused bail, ruling that he considered there was a risk of interference with witnesses.