Florida Man Charged In New Jersey With Threatening To Poison Consumer Products
NEWARK, N.J. – Federal charges are filed in Newark against a man who allegedly contacted a consumer products company and claimed he poisoned its products and would return them to store shelves if his demands were not met, New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced today.
Brian Henderson, 49, of Hallendale, Fla., is charged by criminal complaint with two counts of threatening to tamper with a consumer product. Henderson is already in custody on bank robbery charges filed Dec. 19, 2013, in the Southern District of Florida, and will appear in Newark federal court on a date to be determined.
An additional indictment was unsealed today in the Southern District of Florida charging Henderson with a scheme to extort Publix Super Markets Inc., by threatening to bomb its stores.
According to the District of New Jersey complaint made public today and statements made in court:
On July 28, 2013, Henderson contacted the company, headquartered in New Jersey and referred to in court documents as “Company 1,” by sending a message through its online customer care center. In the message, Henderson threatened to place 20 poisoned packages of the company’s products on the shelves of 20 different stores unless he was paid an unspecified sum of money. The message was addressed to the chairman of the board of directors and the company’s chief executive officer.
Henderson sent another message on Aug. 5, 2013, saying:
“I am the angel of death. I have put poison in 20 packages of your products. I will put them back on the shelves unless you pay me what you owe me. Last week I gave you an e-mail address that no longer works. You will have until Thurs 8/8 at 5pm to reply to my new e-mail address or I will replace the products and alert the media. You can handle this quietly and cheaply or publicly and very very expensive [sic].”
The complaint does not allege that Henderson actually poisoned any consumer product.
The second threat was transmitted from an internet protocol address which, at that time, was assigned to the wireless network of a restaurant in Dania, Fla. Security footage retrieved from the restaurant shows an individual believed to be Henderson.
Law enforcement executed a search warrant at Henderson’s residence on Dec. 14, 2013, recovering what appeared to be a draft of an extortion demands.
Each count of threatening to tamper with consumer products carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI in New Jersey, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford, and in Florida, under the direction of Special Agents in Charge George Piro in Miami and Paul Wysopal in Tampa, with the investigation leading to today’s charges.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Daniel V. Shapiro and Andrew Kogan of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.