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Press Release

Florida Man Pleads Guilty to Making Violent Online Threats

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

NORFOLK, Va. – A Parrish, Florida, man pleaded guilty today to sending threatening messages online.

According to court documents, in April and May 2023, John Muccio, 39, sent numerous online threats to a debt collection company located in Norfolk. The company had sent letters and attempted to call Muccio about money he owed. In response, Muccio sent several different threatening messages via the company’s Artificial Intelligence Chatbot. In the messages, Muccio used racial slurs and threatened to kill the employees of the company and sexually assault the co-founders’ family members.

The FBI was able to trace the threats to Muccio at his residence in Florida. A review of Muccio’s cell phone showed he had the company’s website bookmarked on his internet browser.

Muccio pleaded guilty to making threatening interstate communications and is scheduled to be sentenced on March 5, 2024. He faces a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Brian Dugan, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Elizabeth W. Hanes accepted the plea.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Yusi is prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:23-cr-87.

Updated November 3, 2023