Former Monmouth County resident indicted for phoning in false bomb threats
A former Monmouth County resident has been indicted on charges alleging that he made threatening phone calls and emails to elected officials, judges, law enforcement and attorneys while also phoning in false bomb threats to local and state government offices, police, two law firms and a commercial establishment, announced U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito.
Eric Hafner, 28, who Jersey Shore Online reports ran and lost a congressional bid in Oregon, now faces decades in prison and will be sattled with hefty fines to pay for the crimes committed.
He was charged by indictment with nine counts of making threatening communications in interstate or foreign commerce with intent to extort, each punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison, and a maximum fine of $250,000.
Hafner was also charged with 18 counts of making threatening communications in interstate or foreign commerce, each punishable by a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison, and a maximum fine of $250,000.
He was then charged with six counts of conveying false information concerning the use of an explosive device, each punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison, and a maximum fine of $250,000.
“As charged in the Indictment, the defendant embarked on a campaign of terror directed at judges, elected officials, and members of law enforcement in Monmouth County and elsewhere,” U.S. Attorney Carpenito said. “He threatened to detonate bombs and kill and otherwise harm his victims, all in an effort to cause psychological harm to and extort hundreds of thousands of dollars from them. As a result of this federal prosecution, his serious crimes now face serious consequences.”
“Hafner’s actions were intended to – and in fact did – create fear to numerous citizens in the Monmouth County community,” Monmouth County Prosecutor Chris Gramiccioni said. “In addition, significant law enforcement resources were wasted in responding to these false bomb threats. Even though these threats were false, the fear and psychological trauma felt by the victims during these incidents were very real.”
Between July 2016 and May 2018, while living outside of the United States, Hafner allegedly communicated threats to numerous individuals located in and around Monmouth County and elsewhere.
Those threatening communication methods targeted elected officials, judges, police officers, attorneys, and their families, and included threats to injure and kill the victims.
The defendant sought to extort $350,000 from some of his victims.
Hafner also made false bomb threats to an elected official’s office, a county courthouse, a police department, two law firms, and a commercial establishment.
He was originally charged with transmission of threatening communications in a one-count criminal complaint on October 6, 2016, which remained under seal until his arrest in the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. Territory, on September 27, 2019, where he had an initial appearance before Chief U.S. District Judge Ramona V. Manglona.
Hafner had his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Tonianne J. Bongiovanni in Trenton federal court upon his arrival in the District of New Jersey on Oct. 23, 2019.
At that time, Hafner was ordered detained without bail.
The government is being represented by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Ian D. Brater of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Trenton.
Defense counsel: Andrea Bergman Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Trenton.
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