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Press Release

Massachusetts Man Pleads Guilty to Sending Threatening Letters, Some Containing Suspicious White Powder

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

BOSTON – A Beverly man pleaded guilty today in connection with mailing threatening letters containing suspicious white powder to high-profile individuals, law enforcement officials and others.

Daniel Frisiello, 25, pleaded guilty to 13 counts of mailing a threat to injure the person of another and six counts of false information and hoaxes. U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton scheduled sentencing for Jan. 16, 2019. Frisiello was arrested and charged on March 1, 2018, and has been in home detention since.

Frisiello mailed five high-profile individuals around the country an envelope that contained suspicious white powder and a note indicating that the powder was dangerous and intended to cause harm. There were notable commonalities among the envelopes, including a Boston postmark. Further investigation revealed that one victim had also received a “glitter bomb,” that is, an envelope containing glitter sent to an unsuspecting individual that, when opened, spills out onto the recipient. Law enforcement traced financial records to Frisiello, who had ordered and paid for the glitter bomb to be delivered to the victim. Furthermore, trash recovered from Frisiello’s residence contained remnants of the cut-out computer-printed messages that Frisiello sent to some victims.

More specifically, in 2015, Frisiello sent two letters that threatened the manager of a Massachusetts company that had recently terminated one of Frisiello’s family members. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Frisiello sent a white-powder letter to family members of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump, which caused a significant hazardous material response by law enforcement. The letter promised that if Trump did not drop out of the race, the next letter would not be a fake. In 2016, Frisiello also sent letters to the heads of four law enforcement agencies in Connecticut and Rhode Island, warning them to drop an investigation into Nathan Carman, who allegedly killed his mother and grandfather, threatening that one police chief would join Carman’s mother “at the bottom of the sea” and that a state police colonel would not only drown, but also receive “a bullet in [his] brain.” In 2017, Frisiello sent a letter threatening to shoot the assistant district attorney who was prosecuting Michelle Carter for involuntary manslaughter and to also shoot the judge who was hearing the case. In 2018, Frisiello sent white powder letters to another member of the First Family, a United States Attorney, United States Senator Deborah Stabenow, a Stanford law professor, and a candidate for the United States House of Representatives.

Frisiello was tied to the threatening letters through fingerprints and further investigation.  

The charge of mailing a threat to injure the person of another provides for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, or 10 years in prison for threats addressed to a federal official, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of false information and hoaxes provides for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $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; Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; Joseph W. Cronin, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Boston Division; Stephen Marks, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service Boston Field Office; and Beverly Police Chief John G. LeLacheur made the announcement today. The investigation was led by the FBI Boston Division’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott L. Garland, Deputy Chief of Lelling’s National Security Unit, is prosecuting the case.

Updated October 17, 2018

National Security