Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that Juan Thompson pled guilty to one count of cyberstalking and one count of making hoax bomb threats as part of his campaign to harass and intimidate a particular woman, by, among other things, communicating at least 12 threats to Jewish Community Centers (JCCs) and other Victim Organizations in her name.
Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said: “Fueling fear and distress, Juan Thompson made fake bomb threats to over a dozen Jewish Community Centers and organizations around the country. As he admitted today in pleading guilty, Thompson made these threats as part of a cruel campaign to cyberstalk a victim with whom he previously had a relationship. Thompson’s threats not only inflicted emotional distress on his victim, but also harmed Jewish communities around the country. Thanks to the dedicated work of the FBI and NYPD, Thompson will now be held to account for his crimes.”
According to the Complaint, the Information, and other statements made in open court:
In July 2016, Thompson began a months-long campaign of harassment targeting the woman (Victim-1) after she ended their relationship. Thompson’s conduct culminated with a series of hoax threats, including hoax bomb threats, targeting JCCs, organizations that provide service to and on behalf of the Jewish community, schools, and police departments.
Thompson started his campaign of harassment of Victim-1 in 2016. In July of that year, an email was sent to Victim-1’s employer, which made false allegations about Victim-1, including that she had broken the law, using an internet protocol (“IP”) address that Thompson had previously used to access his social media account. On October 15, 2016, an IP address that traced back to Thompson’s residence was used to falsely report that Victim-1 possessed child pornography. When confronted by law enforcement on November 22, 2016, Thompson claimed that his email account had been hacked a few weeks earlier.
Thompson also made at least 12 hoax threats targeting JCCs, organizations that provide service to and on behalf of the Jewish community, schools, and police departments. For instance, on or about February 21, 2017, the Anti-Defamation League (“ADL”) received an emailed threat at their midtown Manhattan office, which indicated that “[Victim-1’s name and birthdate] is behind the bomb threats against jews. She lives in nyc and is making more bomb threats tomorrow.” The next day, the ADL received a phone call claiming that explosive material had been placed in the ADL’s midtown Manhattan office.
Some of Thompson’s threats were made in his own name, as part of an effort to claim that Victim-1 was trying to frame Thompson for a crime. For instance, on or about February 7, 2017, a JCC in Manhattan received an emailed bomb threat from an anonymous email account that stated: “Juan Thompson [Thompson’s birthday] put two bombs in the office of the Jewish center today. He wants to create Jewish newtown tomorrow.” The email’s use of the phrase “Jewish newtown” appeared to refer to a December 2012 school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, in which a gunman murdered 26 victims.
In February 2017, a Twitter account used by Thompson (the “Thompson Twitter Account”) was used to accuse Victim-1 of responsibility for the JCC Threats and to claim that Victim-1 was trying to frame Thompson for her crimes. For instance, on February 24, 2017, the Thompson Twitter Account posted: “[s]he [Victim-1], though I can’t prove it, even sent a bomb threat in my name to a Jewish center, which was odd given her antisemitic statements. I got a visit from the FBI. So now I’m battling the racist FBI and this vile, evil, racist white woman.” On February 26, 2017, the Thompson Twitter Account posted “The hatred of Jews goes across all demos. Ask NYC’s [Victim-1’s employer]. They employ a filthy anti-Semite in [Victim-1]. These ppl are evil.”
Thompson, 32, of Saint Louis, Missouri, pled guilty to one count of cyberstalking, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, and one count of hoax threats, which also carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the Judge.
Thompson is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Kevin P. Castel on September 15, 2017.
Mr. Kim praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI, and thanked the United States Secret Service, New York City Police Department, and Saint Louis Police Department for their ongoing investigative assistance.
The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jacob Warren and Andrew DeFilippis are in charge of the prosecution.