bergen county, n.J., man pleads guilty to making false report of kidnapping to u.S. embassy
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 19, 2014
NEWARK, N.J. — A Bergen County, N.J., man today admitted using the Internet and social media to fabricate a fictitious high school girl, using that fake personality to engage in an online relationship with a teenage male, and then making a false report to a U.S. Embassy that the girl was kidnapped, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Andriy Mykhaylivskyy, a/k/a “Andriy Haddad,” 19, of Rutherford, N.J., pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Claire C. Cecchi in Newark federal court to an information charging him with making false statements in a matter within the jurisdiction of the executive branch of the U.S. government.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Mykhaylivskyy admitted he used Facebook, Twitter, Skype, text messages, and other electronic means to create a fake online identity for a teenage girl he called “Kate Fulton.” He pretended to be Kate Fulton while he initiated and maintained an electronic relationship with “Individual One,” a then18-year-old New Jersey resident.
On July 2, 2013, Mykhaylivskyy called the U.S. Embassy in Chisinau, Moldova, and reported the false kidnapping of Kate Fulton. Mykhaylivskyy also admitted that he both personally, and as Kate Fulton, informed Individual One that Kate Fulton had been kidnapped. On July 8, 2013, Individual One called the U.S. Embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria, seeking assistance regarding the kidnapping of Kate Fulton, who was allegedly kidnapped while vacationing in Burgas, Bulgaria.
Mykhaylivskyy also admitted to sending tweets from Kate Fulton on June 29, 2013, after she was allegedly kidnapped, including one that read “Someone help me.” During his plea hearing, Mykhaylivskyy acknowledged that he knew at all times that Kate Fulton was not a real person and had not been kidnapped.
Mykhaylivskyy admitted one instance of obstruction of justice. During his August 27, 2013, initial appearance in Newark federal court, he was told not to have contact with witnesses. However, upon arriving at jail later that day, he called and spoke to Individual One and told him Kate Fulton had been arrested in California. During the call, Mykhaylivskyy arranged to meet Individual One in person and asked him to delete both Mykhaylivskyy’s and Kate Fulton’s personal Facebook and Twitter accounts.
The charge to which Mykhaylivskyy pleaded guilty is punishable by a maximum of five years in prison and a statutory maximum fine of $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for June 25, 2014.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) Office of Protective Intelligence Investigations and DS agents assigned to the DSS New York Field Office for their assistance in the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea. He also thanked members of the FBI Newark Joint Terrorism Task Force for their assistance in the investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara F. Merin of the U.S. Attorney’s Office General Crimes Unit in Newark.
Defense counsel: Candace Hom, Assistant Federal Public Defender, Newark