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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Georgia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, November 7, 2022

Macon Man Pleads Guilty in Social Media Death Threat and Extortion Case

MACON, Ga. – A Macon resident who was previously living in Phoenix, Arizona, pleaded guilty to three felony charges of making death threats and attempting to blackmail an individual through Facebook.

Austin Mitchel Fitch aka Jakob Enderson, 29, pleaded guilty to two counts of sending threatening communications via interstate commerce and one count of interstate communications with intent to extort before U.S. District Judge Marc Treadwell today. Fitch faces a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine per each count of sending threatening communications; he faces a maximum sentence of two years imprisonment to be followed by one year of supervised release and a $250,000 fine for extortion. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb.1.

“There are repercussions for those who level a true threat to harm and exhort people through social media or other channels,” said U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary. “FBI’s National Threat Operations Center took swift action to investigate and determine a true threat and ultimately shut it down.”

“No one should have to face threats and extortion in person or through social media,” said Keri Farley, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “Thanks to the FBI’s National Threat Operations Center, Austin Fitch will no longer be able to make threats. This case is a warning to others who want to use social media as their weapon of choice.”

According to court records, a person contacted FBI’s National Threat Operations Center (NTOC) on April 28 to report death threats he received through Facebook from an individual named Jakob Enderson. A second person also received death threats on the same day from Jakob Enderson. An exigent emergency request for subscriber information by FBI to Facebook resulted in the account being traced to Fitch. On April 29, the FBI spoke with Fitch, who admitted to making the death threats and indicated that he believed it was within his constitutional rights to make such threats. The agent advised Fitch that these types of comments are not protected speech and that it was illegal to make death threats. Following that conversation with FBI, Fitch proceeded to reach back out to both persons several times with additional threats through Facebook, including an attempt to extort money.

The case was investigated by FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Will Keyes is prosecuting the case.

Updated November 7, 2022