Beverly Man Pleads Guilty to Sending Threatening Letters and White Powder to an Online Dating Website
BOSTON – A Beverly man pleaded guilty today to sending nine letters, one of which contained a white powder the defendant described as anthrax and another containing a red substance he described as blood infected with the AIDS virus, to the online dating website OkCupid.com.
Liam MacLeod, 47, pleaded guilty to two counts of mailing threatening communications and two counts of conveying false information and hoaxes. U.S. District Court Chief Judge Patti B. Saris scheduled sentencing for Sept. 18, 2019.
Between September and December 2017, OkCupid’s corporate headquarters in Dallas, Texas, received nine mailings containing either threatening communications and/or suspicious substances. All of the mailings were addressed to OkCupid’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
On or about Sept. 12, 2017, MacLeod mailed an envelope addressed to OkCupid’s CEO in Dallas containing a suspicious white powder, along with a handwritten letter with the following text:
Greetings from Beverly
Ban me will ya
Welcome to the wonderful world of ANTHRAX
Expect a package within the next couple of days
It won’t be ticking but it should be interesting!
MacLeod mailed another envelope on or about Sept. 14, 2017 addressed to OkCupid’s CEO in Dallas containing a typewritten letter with the following message, amongst other text:
How’d you like what I sent you? Aww, go take a powder. Oh, the things I have in store for you! I can go on like this for years. How long can you last?
Incidentally, my father was an angel: That’s Hell’s
Angel to you. You see, we have some pull. Take for
example your vehicles. We now know who owns
what, and where each of you parks his.
Hmm, think of the possibilities!
A third envelope was sent by MacLeod on or about Sept. 20, 2017 to OkCupid’s CEO in Dallas. The envelope and the single piece of white paper it contained each had significant red-brown staining consistent with blood. The next day, MacLeod mailed another letter addressed to OkCupid’s CEO containing a typewritten letter wherein MacLeod indicated that the red-brown staining on the previous letter was blood infected with the AIDS virus.
Between Oct. 4, 2017 and Dec. 21, 2017, MacLeod mailed five additional envelopes addressed to OkCupid’s CEO in Dallas, each containing threatening communications and/or suspicious substances. Each of these mailings generated a response by federal law enforcement in order to rule out the presence of active biological or chemical agents. Laboratory testing later confirmed that the substances contained in the envelopes, including the white powdery substance, did not contain hazardous materials.
The charge of false information and hoaxes provides for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, one year of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The charge of mailing threatening communications provides for a sentence of no greater than 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; and David W. Cronin, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Boston Division, made the announcement today. The investigation was conducted by the FBI Boston’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, with assistance from the Beverly Police Department. OkCupid and its parent company has been fully cooperative with the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason A. Casey of Lelling’s National Security Unit is prosecuting the case.