Monessen Man Pleads Guilty To Mailing Threatening Communications
PITTSBURGH, Pa. ‑ A resident of Monessen, Pa., pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of mailing threatening communications, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.
Joseph Popovich, 55, pleaded guilty to one count before United States District Judge David S. Cercone.
In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that on July 27, 2009, Popovich intended to extort $20,000 from another individual by mailing a letter addressed to the individual, which contained a threat to injure the individual's reputation and a threat to accuse the individual of a crime. Specifically, Popovich threatened to disclose to the Environmental Protection Agency certain photographs enclosed with the letter that purported to depict evidence of an alleged environmental crime for which the letter threatens that the individual could be subjected to prison.
Judge Cercone scheduled sentencing for Feb. 24, 2010 at 10:00 a.m. The law provides for a maximum sentence of two years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense and the criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Assistant United States Attorney Charles A. Eberle is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Joseph Popovich.