ALBANY, NEW YORK – Jason Pantone, age 36, of Hyde Park, New York, was sentenced today to time served (more than two years in jail) for conveying false information and hoax letters.
The announcement was made by Acting United States Attorney Antoinette T. Bacon and Thomas F. Relford, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Acting U.S. Attorney Antoinette T. Bacon stated: “With these hoax letters, Jason Pantone intended to terrify federal employees throughout Upstate and Central New York. Today’s sentence justly punishes Pantone for causing emotional distress to some letter recipients, and for consuming the valuable time and resources of our first responders. I commend our law enforcement partners for quickly arresting Pantone shortly after his crimes began.”
FBI Special Agent in Charge Thomas Relford stated: “Mr. Pantone’s actions caused widespread panic and fear for employees who simply showed up to work that day, and he spent two years in jail as a result. The public should know the FBI will work diligently with our law enforcement partners to actively investigate and pursue prosecution of any individual who poses a threat to the safety of our citizens.”
Pantone was arrested on February 27, 2019, and had been in custody since that time. As part of his guilty plea, Pantone admitted that in February 2019, he mailed several envelopes addressed to Social Security Administration Offices in Plattsburgh, Binghamton and Utica. Additional letters were addressed to United States District Court offices in Syracuse, Binghamton, Albany, and Plattsburgh. All of the envelopes contained a typed note that read “ANTHRAX.” Some of the letters included a smiley face with “X” in the place of the eyes, meant to indicate death.
Pantone’s actions caused several locations to be evacuated and hazardous material teams to be deployed, to assess and clear the buildings. All samples of the white powder were tested and yielded negative results for anthrax or other hazardous material.
United States District Judge Mae D’Agostino also imposed a 3-year term of supervised release.
This case was investigated by the FBI, the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Federal Protective Service, the New York State Police, the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Department, the New York State Department of Health, and the Department of Homeland Security. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Troy Anderson.