bergen county, n.J., man arrested for making false report of kidnapping of online “Teenage girl” to u.S. embassy
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 27, 2013
NEWARK, N.J. – A Bergen County, N.J., man who allegedly used the internet and social media to create a fictitious high school girl, used that fake identity to establish an online relationship with another person and then falsely reported the girl’s kidnapping to a U.S. Embassy was arrested today by federal officials, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Andriy Mykhaylivskyy, a/k/a/ “Andriy Haddad,” 18, of Rutherford, N.J., was arrested this morning and charged by complaint with making false statements to a United States official. He is scheduled to make his initial appearance this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Steven C. Mannion in Newark federal court.
According to the complaint:
In late August 2012, Mykhaylivskyy, allegedly posing as Kate Brianna Fulton, began an online relationship with a high school classmate identified in court papers as “Individual One.” Law enforcement investigation determined Kate Fulton was a fictitious person created by Mykhaylivskyy on Facebook using photographs of an actual high school student taken from an unsecured Facebook page without her knowledge or permission.
On July 2, 2013, Mykhaylivskyy, using an alias, called the U.S. Embassy in Chisinau, Moldova, and reported that his girlfriend, “Kate Fulton,” a United States citizen, had been kidnapped in Bulgaria on June 28, 2013. The online relationship continued until Kate’s alleged kidnapping, with Mykhaylivskyy maintaining the relationship online and via text messaging.
Mykhaylivskyy independently befriended Individual One, claimed to know Kate Fulton, and confirmed details regarding Kate Fulton.
On July 8, 2013, the U.S. Embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria, received a telephone call from Individual One seeking assistance regarding the kidnapping of Kate Brianna Fulton, whom Individual One reported was kidnapped while she was vacationing in Burgas, Bulgaria. Individual One provided the Embassy with tweets that Individual One received on June 29, 2013, a day after the purported kidnapping, from Kate Brianna Fulton’s Twitter account. One tweet was of a number that Individual One believed to be Kate’s local Bulgarian cell phone and the other read, “Someone help me.”
After receiving the second report of the kidnapping, federal agents from the U.S. Embassy Sofia, Bulgaria, Regional Security Office and the headquarters of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security in Northern Virginia engaged in an extensive investigation to locate Kate Brianna Fulton and also received assistance from Bulgarian law enforcement. Bulgarian police combed hotels, hostels and other lodgings in Burgas seeking information on the missing girl and the Bulgarian border police searched incoming passenger records.
This law enforcement investigation revealed that Kate Brianna Fulton was a fictitious person created by Mykhaylivskyy, and that the high school student whose pictures were used without her permission was safe and in the United States.
The count of making false statements with which Mykhaylivskyy is charged is punishable by a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security in Embassy Sofia, the DSS Office of Protective Intelligence Investigations, the DSS New York Field Office and the New York and Newark Joint Terrorism Task Forces, for the investigation leading to today’s arrest.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara F. Merin of the U.S. Attorney’s Office General Crimes Unit in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.