Keene Man Sentenced to 41 Months for Extortion and Threat Offenses
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Hampshire
CONCORD – Christopher C. Cantwell, 40, of Keene, was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison after being convicted of extortion and threat charges by a federal jury in September, United States Attorney Scott W. Murray announced today.
During four days of trial testimony, the jury was presented with evidence that Cantwell maintained an active online presence, including operating a website and an internet call-in program. Evidence at trial showed that Cantwell believed that members of an online group called the “Bowl Patrol” had been harassing him online. Cantwell contacted the victim in this case seeking to obtain identifying information about the leader of the Bowl Patrol, an individual who used the name “Vic Mackey.”
When the victim did not disclose the information Cantwell sought, on June 16, 2019, Cantwell sent an electronic message through the Telegram messaging application, stating, “So if you don’t want me to come and f*ck your wife in front of your kids, then you should make yourself scarce[.] Give me Vic, it’s your only out.”
Between June 15, 2019, and June 17, 2019, Cantwell also sent a series of messages to the victim in which he threatened to injure the victim’s reputation by posting identifying information about the victim online (commonly referred to as “doxing”) and reporting the victim to child protection authorities if he did not receive information about “Vic Mackey.” Evidence presented at trial showed that Cantwell did “dox” the victim on June 17, 2019, by posting identifying information and photographs related to the victim and the victim’s family online. Cantwell also called child protection authorities in Missouri and made a report about the victim.
Cantwell was convicted of one count of transmitting extortionate communications and one count of threatening to injure property or reputation. The jury found Cantwell not guilty of cyberstalking. Cantwell has been in custody since his arrest on January 23, 2020.
“Threats to commit violence have no place in our society” said U.S. Attorney Murray. “Using the internet to convey threats and extortionate messages can have a serious harmful impact on victims and violates federal law. I commend the FBI and our other law enforcement partners who did an excellent job in investigating this case. They successfully completed a difficult multi-state investigation ensuring that Mr. Cantwell was held responsible for his actions.”
“The First Amendment does not protect those who choose to engage in criminal activity based on hateful beliefs, but a jury of Christopher Cantwell’s peers found he did exactly that, and with today’s sentence he has now been held accountable for his violent threats,” said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division. “My thanks to our Joint Terrorism Task Force in New Hampshire for their efforts in protecting all citizens from harm.”
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with assistance from the New Hampshire State Police, Keene Police Department, and the Manchester Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys John S. Davis and Anna Krasinski.
Updated February 24, 2021
Press Release Number: 21-030