Macon Man Sentenced to Prison for Making Death Threats, Attempting Extortion on Social Media
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Georgia
MACON, Ga. – A Macon resident who was previously living in Phoenix, Arizona, was sentenced to serve 34 months in prison today after he pleaded guilty to making death threats and attempting to blackmail an individual through Facebook.
Austin Mitchel Fitch aka Jakob Enderson, 29, was sentenced to serve 34 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release by Chief U.S. District Judge Marc Treadwell today after he previously pleaded guilty to two counts of sending threatening communications via interstate commerce and one count of interstate communications with intent to extort. There is no parole in the federal system.
“Death threats and extortion are not constitutionally protected speech. There are repercussions for those who threaten to harm and blackmail people through social media,” said U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary. “I want to commend FBI’s National Threat Operations Center for its work in this case and its continued efforts to protect our citizens from harm.”
“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, 2022, 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, 2022, 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 prosecuted the case.
Updated March 17, 2023