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Press Release

Denver Man Sentenced to Prison for Threatening to Harm Government Employees

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Colorado

DENVER – The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado announces that Harold Ortiz, age 56, of Denver, was sentenced to 14 months in federal prison for threatening to assault or murder a Social Security Administration employee. 

According to the plea agreement, on February 26, 2021, the defendant called the Social Security Administration in regards to social security benefits.  He demanded to speak with a manager, and then yelled insults.  He then said, “I’m going to stand outside your building and blow all of your [expletive] heads off!  You’re dealing with a crazy person.”  After this call was disconnected, the defendant placed another call to the Social Security Administration.  The district manager told the defendant that threats would not be tolerated, and the defendant responded, “Denver PD will not come to my house because they know I will kill them! They know I am crazy!”  As a result of the defendant’s threat, the Social Security Administration office in downtown Denver was closed for two days on March 1 and March 2, 2021.

“Freedom of speech does not protect threatening to assault or murder a United States official,” said Acting United States Attorney Matt Kirsch.  “Threatening to harm federal officials is a crime, and we will prosecute it.”

“Mr. Ortiz threatened the lives of Social Security Administration officials for carrying out their official duties.  This deplorable behavior not only caused fear in the lives of SSA personnel and their families, but resulted in the closure of that field office and the cancellation of dire need appointments for the public.  This behavior will not be tolerated by my office and today’s sentence should stand as a warning to anyone who threatens an SSA official who is simply carrying out his or her duties,” said Gail S. Ennis, Inspector General for the Social Security Administration.  “I thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Sonia Dave for prosecuting this case.” 

United States District Court Judge Daniel D. Domenico sentenced Harold Ortiz on October 6, 2021.

The Federal Protective Service and the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General conducted the investigation.  Special Assistant United States Attorney Sonia J. Dave handled the prosecution of the case.     

Case Number:  21-cr-00085-DDD-1

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Updated October 6, 2021

National Security